Bowie coal mine suspends operations
PAONIA — Coal mining operations at Bowie Resources LLC, a coal-mining firm located northeast of Paonia, have been suspended for at least 10 days, according to an announcement by the company Friday.
In a press release by Dewey Tanner, vice president and general manager of Bowie, Tanner cited delays in securing long-term financing for development expenses in announcing the closure.
“Bowie is temporarily idling the mine until upcoming transactions can be completed,” Tanner said in the release.
Mining operations at the facility were completely shut down as of Friday afternoon as trucks, front loaders and a large ore conveyer system sat idle.
“We’ll wait and see what happens Monday,” said Lou Grako, a manager on site at the Bowie facility Friday.
Grako said he didn’t know the number of workers and shifts that are affected by the shutdown. He said the company needs more time to figure out details before more information is available.
Bowie Resources LLC is the second-largest employer in Delta County following the Oxbow Mining company in Somerset. Exact employee numbers were not available. The company has gone to a “we will call you” system for letting employees know when operations will resume.
A secretary at the Bowie offices said Friday she had been busy all day fielding questions from employees. As for when the employees could go back to work, Grako couldn’t say.
Bowie is the largest property taxpayer in Delta County and recently has made large payments to the county for back taxes. The company made two $550,000 payments on back taxes from last year under a repayment plan reached with the Delta County Commission.
Since late last year, Bowie officials have been on the defensive, working to dispute rumors that the facility would close this year. One resident in Paonia said Friday that rumors of a closure had been flying around all summer.
Back in July, former Bowie Resources Mine Manager Brad Hanson was quoted in the Mountain Valley News saying rumors of a closure were “false,” and he added the mine would remain open.
Hanson left the company in July to take a position with Signal Peak Energy in Roundup, Mont.
The News also reported that CEO Keith Sieber said paying some vendors had been a problem but the company was looking at new funding resources and planned to be producing coal well into the future.
A call to Bowie CEO Keith Sieber went unreturned Friday.
An employee of Oxbow told The Daily Sentinel on Friday that the company had received employment applications from Bowie workers caught up in the shutdown.