U.S. Department of the Interior

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Absaloka Mine

Public Comment

The Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE) is announcing the public comment period from July 31, 2014 to September 30, 2014, to submit comments on the matter discussed below.

Westmoreland Resources, Inc. – Absaloka Mine

Westoremoreland Resources, Inc. submitted a permit renewal application to the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE), Casper Area Office. This permit renewal does not contain any changes to the currently approved OSMRE permit No. MT-0021A. This renewal will allow continued surface coal mining and reclamation operations for an additional 5 years.

Westmoreland Resources, Inc. – Absaloka Mine was formed by Westmoreland Coal Company and a group of partners to lease coal reserves from the Crow Tribe of Indians in Montana and develop the Absaloka Mine in the early 1970s. WRI shipped its first coal from the mine in 1974. Over the years, Westmoreland acquired the partnership interests of the other partners and, as part of its renewal strategy, increased its ownership to 100% in October 2007.

The Absaloka Mine is a 10,427 acres contained within two permits, (MT-0007G at 7110 acres and MT-0021A at 3,317 acres) and operated as a single-pit surface mine complex located near Hardin, Montana and the Crow Indian Reservation. The coal reserves are leased from the Crow Tribe of Indians. The Absaloka Mine was expressly developed to supply Powder River Basin coal to a group of Midwestern utilities, including Xcel Energy’s Sherburne County Station near Minneapolis, Minnesota. Over the years, it has also sold coal to several other upper Midwest utilities. Coal is shipped via a 38-mile rail spur to the main line of the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad near Hysham, Montana.

The Absaloka Mine has the present capacity to produce up to 7.5 million tons of coal annually.

The South Mine area which is the subject of this renewal application is within the Crow Indian Reservation adjacent to permit MT-007G, and will allow orderly progression of mining from Permit MT-007G onto permit MT-0021A. This mining must follow a logical development sequence to maintain coal production at the current level of 6.5-7.0 million tons per year, and logical progression of mining dictates that the mine plan will traverse both permits. Also, the direction of surface water flow is predominantly south to north, dictating that control measures will be required on both permits to intercept and control surface drainage from mining areas north and south of the boundary. Because mining, reclamation and drainage control plans must be seamless across both permits.

Title Size Type
Renewal Application Absaloka Mine Permit MT-0021A (5.47 MB)

Written comments may be submitted in writing to: Gene Robinson
Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement
Casper Area Office
Dick Cheney Federal Building
POB 11018, 150 East B Street
Casper, WY 82601-7032

Page Last Modified/Reviewed: 12/22/16

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