Twentymile Mine asks to mine additional acres | CraigDailyPress.com

Twentymile Mine asks to mine additional acres

Matt Stensland

— Routt County’s Twentymile Coal Mine is asking permission from the federal government to mine coal from an additional 310 acres under ground.

According to the Bureau of Land Management, Twentymile intends to remove 340,000 tons of coal from the area in a 1 1/2- to 2-year period.

In 2014, the mine produced 6.66 million tons of coal, down 8 percent from 2013 when the mine produced 7.24 million tons.

Charlene Murdock, a spokeswoman for Peabody Energy, Twentymile's parent company, said the request is a minor amendment to the mine’s existing operation.

The additional acreage would allow Twentymile to extend mining in the Wadge coal seam and would enable the mine to add mining equipment in the Wolf Creek seam below. The mine is in the process of moving into the Wolf Creek seam.

The BLM is working on an environmental assessment for the proposed modification to Twentymile’s coal lease.

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“We’re trying to get the public to give us an idea of what sort of impacts they see,” BLM spokesman Chris Joyner said.

The BLM wants to receive comments from the public by April 1. Written comments can be mailed to the Little Snake Field Office, 455 Emerson Street, Craig, CO 81625. Comments can also be submitted via email to jmaiolo@blm.gov.

Twentymile is made up of six federal coal leases, private coal leases and state coal leases. Twentymile operates under a permit that encompasses 19,940 acres.

The subsurface mineral rights for the 310-acre extension belong to the federal government. The surface is privately owned.

Twentymile owns 290 acres, and Ashley Investments owns the other 20 acres. According to the BLM, there would be no additional activity on the surface if the lease is successfully modified.

The area is about two miles from Twentymile’s headquarters.

In exchange for mining the coal, Twentymile would pay an 8 percent royalty to the federal government.

According to the BLM, they are responsible for the "balanced use of the public lands and resources in a manner that best serves the long-term needs of current and future generations."

Leases can be modified when the modification serves the interests of the United States, there is no competitive interest in the lands or deposits and additional lands or deposits cannot be developed as part of another potential or existing independent operation.

"The BLM has made the determination that the above criteria apply to this application," the BLM said in a news release.

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247, email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @SBTStensland

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