New coal mine may produce soon

Operation may reach full production in 4 years if certain conditions met

A new coal mine north of Grand Junction could be as close as four years from full production, if it clears environmental and market hurdles.

The Bureau of Land Management has opened a 60-day comment period on the Red Cliff Mine, which is to be about 11 miles north of Loma and Mack and 1 1/2 miles east of Colorado Highway 139.

Rhino Energy LLC, parent company of the Red Cliff and McClane Canyon mines, is hoping to coordinate its operations of McClane and Red Cliff, said Corey Heaps, Red Cliff project manager.

“There is a chance that as Red Cliff is starting, McClane could be ramping down,” Heaps said.
McClane Canyon Mine sends all of its coal to the Cameo Power Plant, which is scheduled for closure at the end of 2010.

McClane delivers about 230 truckloads of coal per week, or 280,000 tons per year, to Cameo.

Coordinating the two mines could be a longshot, however, because Rhino still is working to obtain contracts for the Red Cliff Mine, which operators hope eventually will produce significantly more coal than McClane Canyon.

The eventual size of Red Cliff will depend on whether Rhino obtains a lease on land to the east of the three parcels to be mined as Red Cliff, Heaps said. That lease will be awarded through a bidding process.

In the meantime, the company’s plans for the mine call for a 30-year operation, with mining by longwall and room-and-pillar methods. Red Cliff could produce as many as 8 million tons of coal per year. Production from the mine will require rail service and the extension of power lines.

The plans for Red Cliff will be the subject of an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. Feb. 5 in the Fruita City Council chambers, 325 E. Aspen Ave.

The Bureau of Land Management has a Web site, http://www.blm.gov/rmp.co/redcliffmine, for the draft environmental-impact statement.

Comments can be made by e-mail to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address), by fax to 303-239-3808
or by mail to Glenn Wallace, BLM, 2850 Youngfield St., Lakewood 80215.


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