June 10, 2018 - Colowyo Coal Co. is preparing to begin mining from the new Collom Pit following a final stamp of approval from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.
The company expects to make the first box cut on the expansion in October, which is the first step in excavating the ground to get to the coal seams. Coal is expected to begin coming out of the pit in January.
In a presentation in Craig earlier this year, Colowyo leadership said there are 89 million tons of recoverable coal in 21 coal seams, ranging in thickness from two to 12 feet.
“The Collom Project can extend Colowyo’s operations up to another 35 years, so there are significant amounts of coal available to be recovered,” said Lee Boughey, a spokesperson for Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, the company that operates the mine.
The company has been developing infrastructure — including roads, transmission lines, culverts and water pipelines — in the area of the new pit since April 2017. The remaining infrastructure is expected to be complete by October and includes a coal-crushing plant, water storage facility and 5.5-mile haul road to carry coal out of the pit.
Colowyo is currently mining the South Taylor Pit, which has about four years worth of coal left, Boughey said. The company will mine both pits for about five years before the mine fully transitions to the Collom Pit and the South Taylor Pit enters the reclamation process.
The reclamation process includes replacing the deep soils and rocks removed from above a coal seam in the pit, then replacing topsoil and reseeding the area with native species. The area is expected to undergo reclamation through 2029.
"The support that we received from the community was really important to help us be able to move forward with this project and sustain those jobs and that investment and help support the region's economy for many years to come," Boughey said.
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