Peabody seeks expansion of Routt federal coal lease

Peabody Energy is hoping to increase its federal coal lease by the equivalent of a square mile at its Twentymile Coal LLC Foidel Creek Mine in Routt County, one of the state’s most productive coal mines.

The Bureau of Land Management is considering a lease-by-application for the mine, which hopes to access 640 acres of federal coal underneath private surface adjacent to the existing mine and lease. The coal would be mined underground with no surface disturbance, the BLM said in a news release.

The BLM said Peabody estimates it could recover 4.1 million tons of coal from the area in question, generating about $13 million in royalties, half of which would go to the state of Colorado. The proposal also would prevent the bypass of known recoverable federal coal reserves by the mine.

As of the end of April, the mine had produced about 1.26 million tons of coal this year, second statewide behind the 1.5 million tons produced by Arch Coal’s West Elk Mine in the North Fork Valley, according to Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety data.

The state said the mine was employing 281 miners as of the end of that month. It’s also the top payer of property taxes in Routt County.

The BLM is asking to hear from the public about any issues people would like to see addressed in an environmental assessment of the proposal.

“The BLM supports working landscapes across the West through its various multiple-use programs like coal,” Bruce Sillitoe, field manager of the BLM’s Little Snake Field Office in Craig, said in the news release. “We manage public lands for the benefit of current and future generations, and we welcome diverse views.”

Information on Peabody’s proposal is at bit.ly/2uQI1mU. The BLM is asking that public comments be submitted by Aug. 23. They may be emailed to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or mailed to Jennifer Maiolo, Little Snake Field Office, 455 Emerson St., Craig, CO 81625.

While Peabody is hoping to obtain the lease, it would be offered via a competitive lease sale.


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