Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Black Mesa coal mining permit renewed

The federal Office of Surface Mining has approved the renewal of Peabody Energy's operating permit for the Kayenta mine in the Black Mesa coal field on the Navajo and Hopi reservations in northeast Arizona. The company says they produce about 7.8 million tons of coal per year, which goes to fuel the Navajo Generating Station power plant near Page. The new permit runs to July 6, 2015. [Right, permit area map. Credit Peabody Energy]

News reports say "Environmentalists had urged the federal government to deny the permit and now are considering an appeal. They say the mining operation has been depleting water supplies at rates far higher than what Peabody predicted, a claim that Peabody says is light on fact."

Peabody writes that "Mining at Kayenta occurs under complex geological conditions, with coal extracted from multiple seams and splits of seams ranging in thickness from 3 to 15 feet. Coal is crushed then carried via conveyor approximately 17 miles to storage silos, where it is loaded on a closed loop electric train and transported approximately 80 miles to an electrical generating station that generates more than 2,250 megawatts..."

The company reports that "native people comprise more than 90 percent of Kayenta Mine’s more than 425-person workforce"

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