Additional reserves OK’d for 2 coal mines

Two North Fork-area mines can move forward immediately on additional coal reserves, the Bureau of Land Management decided.

Bowie Resources’ No. 2 mine won’t have to leave behind 1.43 million tons of coal under 160 surface acres, according to the BLM decision to approve a lease modification to the mine.

To do otherwise would have been to abandon the coal as Bowie is moving its longwall equipment from one area of the mine to another, BLM spokesman Steven Hall said.

The decision “is in full force and effect,” Hall said. “Comment is closed and we have issued the lease.”

Bowie No. 2 Manager Bill Bear said the modified lease allows for “a continuation of our business,” with the work force it now has.

“In any case, it is good news,” Bear said.

Bowie’s Paonia work force was idled for a time last year and Delta County is still awaiting its delinquent payments from the county’s biggest taxpayer, Treasurer Jim Ventrello said.

“Their cash flow will pick up when the longwall picks up in April,” Ventrello said. “We’re not worried. We could force the issue, but that isn’t going to help us and it’s not going to help them.”

The BLM also issued a finding of no significant impact for plans by nearby Oxbow Resources to mine beneath 786 acres of public lands.

The two mines combined employ more than 625 miners and produce nearly 8 million tons of coal per year.

The coal generates about $25.5 million per year in federal royalties, half of which go to the state.

Statewide in 2009, coal production generated $44 million in royalties in Colorado, the BLM said.


DENVER — The 105th National Western Stock Show has wrapped up. Nearly 645,000 people attended the 16-day show, the biggest event in Colorado. It’s the 14th year in a row that attendance has passed the 600,000 mark, with 644,818 this year. Organizers say 16,000 head of livestock passed through the stock show’s grounds.


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