Policy: Environment & Energy

Company looks to open new Wyoming coal mine

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News,Business,Wyoming,Energy and Environment,Coal,Mining

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) — The CEO of a Kentucky-based company says he's going to buck the coal industry's downward trend by opening a new mine northwest of Sheridan in 2016.

The Brook Mine would be on 14,500 acres of private and state land. The coal to be mined would not be federally owned, saving the cost of federal payments made by many of the state's other coal companies.

Wyoming coal production is down from 443 million tons a year in 2010 to 388 million tons last year. Three of the four publicly traded coal companies in the Powder River Basin recorded losses during the first quarter of this year, the Casper Star-Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1hy6sVy).

Even so, Lexington, Kentucky-based Ramaco hopes to buck the trend with its small mine that would extract only 8 million tons of coal a year.

"Sometimes small is beautiful," Atkins said. "We can find a market for this amount of coal. If you're trying to start a 50 million-ton-a-year mine, that will be harder to place."

Other Wyoming coal mines extract 100 million tons a year.

Atkins said his company is looking into exporting its coal overseas.

Ramaco is an arm of the New York private equity firm Yorktown Partners LLC and specializes in acquisitions and development. The company bought the land from Brink's Co., formerly known as the Pittston Co., in 2011.

Atkins said Ramaco is undecided on whether it will bring in other partners to operate the Brook Mine or operate it independently.

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Information from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune, http://www.trib.com

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