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County approves new mine at Scofield

Sun Advocate Reporter

The Carbon County Commission has granted a conditional use permit for a new coal mine whose portal and surface facilities would be on the east side of Scofield Town.

The proposed Kinney No. 2 mine would employ about 200 miners and produce between 2 million and 3 million tons per year. Much of this coal belongs to Carbon County, which stands to collect royalties.

Mine owner Carbon Resources, LLC, still has to get several federal and state permits to begin operation. Gregory Hunt, part owner of Carbon Resources, told the commission that the company is only about a month away from completing one major hurdle, its permit application from the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining. Other approvals for highway modification, air and water quality and surface disturbance are either approved or under review.

Some mining has already been tried, but was abandoned because of faulting in the seam. To get an idea of the situation, imagine lifting or lowering a slice of layer cake on a serving spoon. The movement means that layers of frosting on the slice no longer line up with the frosting in the rest of the cake.

In the past, miners working a particular seam of coal would run into a solid wall of sandstone because the strata have moved up or down along fault lines. Hunt, a geologist, said this problem can be overcome by combining techniques of continuous mining with shortwall mining.

Shortwall enables much more precise maneuvering than longwall, he told commissioners.

The mine will rely on the town for water and sewer services. That extra revenue should contribute to maintaining and improving the systems in the small town.

Some proposed surface facilities will be in town limits, others will be in the unincorporated county. The bathhouse, loadout structures and other surface work will be visible from town. Coal transport would initially be by truck, with plans to ship by nearby rail later.

If all goes according to schedule, construction could begin next spring or summer, Hunt said.

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