Tunnel Ridge Mine

From Global Energy Monitor

Tunnel Ridge Mine is an underground coal mine, operated by Tunnel Ridge, LLC, a subsidiary of Alliance Resource Partners, near Wheeling, West Virginia, United States.

The mine currently has an ongoing expansion proposal.

Location

The map below shows the location of the mine near Wheeling, West Virginia.

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Mine Details

  • MSHA ID: 4608864
  • Start Year: 2012
  • Operator: Tunnel Ridge, LLC[1]
  • Controller: Alliance Resource Partners
  • Location: 2596 Battle Run Road, Triadelphia 26059, West Virginia, United States[2]
  • GPS Coordinates: 40.134638, -80.645871
  • Production (short tons): 6,807,214 (2018)[3]
  • Coal Type: Bituminous (high-sulfur)
  • Mine Type: Underground
  • Mining Method:Longwall
  • Average No. of Employees: 880 total at Tunnel Ridge, LLC[4]
  • Mineable Reserves: 71.6 million tons as of 12/31/19
  • Mine Size: 9,400 acres
  • Mine status: Operating

Background

The Tunnel Ridge reserve area covers approximately 9,400 acres of coal under land located in Ohio County, West Virginia, and Washington County, Pennsylvania. The most visible portion of the Tunnel Ridge mine consists of the three silos that tower above West Virginia Route 2 about 2 miles north of the Warwood section of Wheeling as part of the company’s barge loading facility. The mine shaft and administrative offices are located on Battle Run Road.[5]

Tunnel Ridge began construction of the mine and related facilities in 2008. Development mining began in 2010, and longwall mining operations began at Tunnel Ridge in May 2012. Coal produced from the Tunnel Ridge mine is transported by conveyor belt to a barge loading facility on the Ohio River. Through an agreement with a third party, Tunnel Ridge has the ability to transload coal from barges for rail shipment on the Wheeling and Lake Erie Railway. When Alliance announced the mine in 2008, the company said it was expected to produce up to 6 million tons annually starting in 2012.[6]

Tunnel Ridge is the company's first mine in the Ohio Valley.[7] The mine began construction in 2009, with development mining beginning in 2010 and longwall mining operations beginning in May 2012.[8]


Community passes anti-mining ordinance

On April 9, 2008, Alliance Resource Partners LP and units of Allegheny Energy Inc. filed a lawsuit against Donegal Township in Washington County, PA, saying a new township ordinance endangers both its Tunnel Ridge Mine and Penn Ridge Mine longwall mining projects. The companies said that the township, in violation of the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution, passed an ordinance in December 2007 that seeks to ban mining there; "The Anti-Mining Ordinance has a substantial impact on interstate commerce because it has the effect of curbing the supply of coal, which is an important natural resource, at a time when demand for coal is growing substantially," said the plaintiffs. The lawsuit also said the ordinance violates the contracts and equal protection clauses, due process rights and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and is an illegal taking without adequate compensation against the companies.[9]

The anti-mining ordinance is called "An Ordinance to Protect the Health, Safety, and General Welfare of the Citizens and Natural Environment of Donegal Township By Banning Corporations from Engaging in Mining Within the Township; By Banning Corporate Ownership of Land and Mineral Estates Used for Mining Within the Township; By Banning Persons From Using Corporations to Engage in Mining; By Banning the Exercise of Certain Powers By Mining Corporations; By Recognizing the Rights of Ecosystems and Natural Communities; and By Providing for Enforcement of Those Rights." The lawsuit also disputes a companion anti-corporation ordinance enacted by the township. Alliance had obtained the reserves for the mines from Allegheny Energy and Allegheny Energy's Allegheny Pittsburgh Coal Co. unit in early 2000.[9]

Expansion

In October 2017, Tunnel Ridge LLC applied to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to revise its Tunnel Ridge Mine permit. The company requested to change 1,206 acres in the existing underground permit area and subsidence control plan area (located in Donegal and West Finley Townships, Washington County, PA) from development mining only to full extraction longwall mining.[10] The permit was approved in August 2018.[11]

By January 2019, Tunnel Ridge had begun operating on both sides of the state line, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. The mining has taken place underneath Interstate 70, causing physical disruptions to the highway due to subsidence.[12]

Project Expansion Details

  • Status: Operating[12]
  • Production Capacity:
  • Mineable Reserves:
  • Mine Expansion Size: 3,128 acres
  • Start Year:
  • Source of Financing:

Articles and resources

Related GEM.wiki articles

References

  1. "Appalachia" arlp.com, accessed July 2020
  2. Tunnel Ridge Mine Coal Diver, accessed October 2019.
  3. "EIA table 9 2019" EIA.gov accessed June 2020
  4. Tunnel Ridge, LLC
  5. "Coal Production Grows at Tunnel Ridge Mine" The Intelligencer, Dec. 22, 2013.
  6. "ARP: Northern Appalachia Mines" Alliance Resource Partners, accessed April 2011.
  7. "Production starts at big new W.Va. coal mine" The Herald-Dispatch, Nov. 5, 2010.
  8. Tunnel Ridge Mine Mining Data Online, accessed October 2019.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Berry Cassell, "Alliance, Allegheny sue Pennsylvania township over anti-coal ordinance" SNL, June 5, 2008.
  10. "Tunnel Ridge Looks to Expand Its Tunnel Ridge Coal Mine, Pa." Mining Connection, Mar. 29, 2018.
  11. Actions on Coal and Non-Coal Mining Activity ApplicationsThe Pennsylvania Bulletin, Aug. 18, 2018.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Scott McCloskey, "Longwall Mining Operation Passing Under I-70 at W.Va./Pa. State Line," "The Intelligencer: Wheeling News Register," September 20, 2019.