Brook Mine

From Global Energy Monitor
This article is part of the Global Coal Mine Tracker, a project of Global Energy Monitor.
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Brook Mine is a proposed U.S. coal mine, owned by the Sheridan-based firm Ramaco Carbon LLC., in Sheridan County, Wyoming, United States.

The project proposal, approved in July 2020, has continually decreased it's production capacity, from 6 to 8 million tons per annum, to 2.5 million tons per annum, to recent estimates of .25 million tons per annum.[1]

Location

The map below shows the approximate location of the Brook Mine site in Sheridan County, Wyoming.[2]

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Background

Ramaco acquired reserves and property located six miles north of Sheridan, WY, in 2011 from the original owner, Sheridan Wyoming Cola Company, who had owned the property since 1914. Portions of the property had been previously surface- and deep-mined beginning over 100 years ago.[2]

The initial mining permit application was filed on October 30, 2014, which will include surface mine development of trench cuts, facilitating the use of low-cost highwall mining—a mining technique used primarily in eastern mining operations.[2] Ramaco plans to build a coal campus replete with a research complex and a manufacturing hub. On top of the ambitious proposal, Brook Mining Company, a subsidiary of Ramaco, bought land near Sheridan to resurrect coal mining operations to feed the research facilities. The company aims to transition away from thermal coal generation and find other uses for coal beyond electricity generation.[3]

The Brook Mine would be the first coal mine to be permitted by the State of Wyoming in over four decades. Brook Mine contains nearly 100 million recoverable tons in initial mining areas being permitted, and the initial reserve area is sufficient to support nearly 20+ years of mining.[2]

Project Delay

The Brook Mine has hit a series of hurdles since the company submitted its permit application in 2014. Though the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) initially stated the Brook Mining Company’s permit had no “deficiencies” and was “technically adequate,” the Environmental Quality Council (EQC), an independent regulatory body, held a contested case hearing on the mine in 2017.[3] The EQC declined to approve the Brook Mine permit application, and in turn, the director of the DEQ denied the company a permit to mine.

The Brook Mining Company took the issue to court, and on October 30, 2019, the Laramie County District Court ruled in favor of Ramaco Carbon. The judge concluded that state environmental regulators erred when rejecting the company’s permit application to mine because the EQC cannot “make the substantive, technical assessment required to approve a permit application.”[3] The EQC decision should have been interpreted as counsel to the Department of Environmental Quality's (DEQ) director, not as the final decision.

The next step will be for the DEQ to consider either its original 2017 permit or the revised version released in October 2018. It is waiting to see if any party will appeal the decision before setting a new timeline. (Parties have 30 days to decide on an appeal.)[4]

On May 13, 2020, permit hearings resumed before the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. The agency heard testimony from opponents and proponents of the project. While the Powder River Basin Resource Council and local landowners and residents discussed the potential harm to agriculture, water in Slater Creek and the Tongue River, and recreational activities, Ramaco's attorneys accused project opponents of obstruction. Todd Parfitt, the Wyoming DEQ administrator, now has 60 days to make a decision. The Powder River Basin Resource Council and other project opponents are expected to appeal if the DEQ approves the permit.[5]

Project Details

  • Sponsor: Brook Mining Company LLC
  • Parent Company: Ramaco Carbon LLC
  • Location: Sheridan County, Wyoming, United States
  • GPS Coordinates: 44.8981163, -107.050853 (approximate)
  • Status: Proposed
  • Production Capacity: 6–8 million tons per year (intially proposed); 2.5 million tons proposed, .25 million tons proposed.[6]
  • Total Resource:
  • Mineable Reserves: Over 1 billion tons[7]
  • Coal type:
  • Mine Size: Over 15,000 acres
  • Mine Type: Surface
  • Start Year:
  • Source of Financing:

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References

  1. Dustin Bleizeffer, State Weighs Contentious Ramaco Coal Mine Permit Again, WyoFile, May 16, 2020
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Brook Mine Overview Powerpoint Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce, Nov. 6, 2014.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Court sides with Ramaco in efforts to open coal mine" Wyoming Tribune Eagle, Nov. 1, 2019.
  4. "Rejected Coal Mine Permit Back in Consideration After Court Decision" Wyoming Public Media, Oct. 30, 2019.
  5. Dustin Bleizeffer, State weighs contentious Ramaco coal mine permit, again, WyoFile, May 15, 2020.
  6. "Ramaco's plan for new coal mine in Sheridan County hits legal roadblock" The Casper Star-Tribune, May 11, 2015.
  7. Facilities Ramaco Carbon, accessed October 2019.