If approved, Twentymile could mine an estimated 4.7 million tons of coal from the Wolf Creek South seam, according to the BLM. The additional coal would produce about $13 million in royalties, which would be split between the state and federal government.

Eleanor C. Hasenbeck

Steamboat Pilot & Today

BLM seeks public comment on Twentymile Mine expansion

The Bureau of Land Management is working to gather information from the public on a proposed expansion to Twentymile Coal Co.’s Foidel Creek Mine.

A public hearing is at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28, at the BLM’s Little Snake Field Office in Craig, and the agency is gathering public comments on the proposal through Dec. 6.

If approved, Twentymile could mine an estimated 4.7 million tons of coal from the Wolf Creek South seam, according to the BLM. The additional coal would produce about $13 million in royalties, which would be split between the state and federal government.

The underground mine produced 3.84 million tons of coal in 2017, making it the second most productive coal mine in the state, behind the West Elk Mine near Paonia, according to the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety.

The expansion would extend the life of the mine by about two years, according to the BLM. The mine employed 275 miners as of September.

“The Wolf Creek South (Lease by Application) is a routine lease application for 4.1 million tons to support timely, ongoing operations at Twentymile Mine,” Peabody spokesperson Charlene Murdock wrote in an email to the Steamboat Pilot & Today.

BLM documents and news releases state the amount of recoverable coal is an estimated 4.7 million tons.

The Wolf Creek South seam is adjacent to the coal seam Twentymile is currently mining. While the coal is federally owned, the land on the surface is privately owned by a subsidiary of Peabody Energy, Twentymile’s parent company. The BLM has said there would be no disturbance to the surface if Twentymile was allowed to expand into the Wolf Creek South seam underground.

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