Morriss: Trapper Mine likely to close between 2026-30
In light of the recent Tri-State news announcing the closing of all coal-powered plants in Colorado and New Mexico by 2030, Trapper Mine finds itself smack dab in the middle of the changing industry.
Trapper Mine, which supplies its coal to Craig Station Units 1 and 2, will close up shop sometime between 2026 and 2030, according to President and General Manager Michael Morriss.
“That (plant) is our sole customer, so when the plant shuts down that will certainly end Trapper as we know it,” Morriss told the Daily Sentinel in Grand Junction Tuesday.
Last week, in a discussion with the Craig Press, Morriss declined to give a target date of closure for Trapper Mine.
Currently, Trapper employs about 185 people. The surface mine, which opened in 1977, was developed to supply Craig Station units 1 and 2 at the plant, and produces roughly 9,800 tons of coal per day. Morriss said the mine produced 2 million tons of coal last year alone.
Trapper Mine has a five-year contract with Tri-State to supply the power plant that expires at the end of this year. According to Morriss, Trapper Mine is likely to get another five-year contract ending at the end of 2025. After 2025, the mine will likely go year-to-year with the power plant.
Mine workers belong to the International Union of Operating Engineers. A collective bargaining agreement includes language covering severance for employees, according to Morriss.
He added about a third of miners should be old enough to retire by the time the mine closes, and another third may or may not be able to do so depending on their personal circumstances, but the remaining workers are young enough that retirement won’t be an option.
“That bottom third is the one that I’m most concerned about, but those are the cards that have been dealt,” Morriss said to the Daily Sentinel.