The competitive lease sale on what it called the Red Wash Tracts 1 and 2 totals an estimated 21.3 million tons of recoverable reserves in Rio Blanco and Moffat counties.
The BLM said it was underground mineable and ranked as C bituminous coal.
The estimated coal quality on an as-received basis is 8000-10,600 British thermal units per pound; volatile matter of 23.8-35.93%; moisture of 10-15%; fixed carbon of 29.87-46.9%; and with sulfur and ash content of 0.30-0.95% and 7-20%, respectively.
Bids were opened at 10am at the BLM’s Lakewood office and according to Grist Blue Mountain Energy, submitted the only bid for the lease.
The blocks are being offered following a Lease by Application filed by Blue Mountain in February.
The coal company, which hopes to expand its Deserado mine that supplies coal to the Bonanza coal plant in Utah, offered $6,390,000 despite the minimum bid sitting at a lower $100 per acre.
According to the BLM, about 90% of Colorado’s coal deposits are located on public lands.
The state has nine active coal operations – seven underground and two surface.
Environmental group Wild Earth Guardians has attacked the BLM’s decision to auction the land, stating that it is conflict with Obama’s “war on coal”
“The Interior Department is continuing to put climate last, putting our nation and our communities at great risk,” WildEarth Guardians’ climate and energy program director Jeremy Nichols said.
“This coal sale may make money for Interior Department bureaucrats and the mining industry, but the American public will be stuck with the bill for more global warming pollution.”
The group is calling for recently appointed Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell to reform the Interior Department’s coal leasing program and “keep the coal in the ground”
In an April letter, WildEarth Guardians, Greenpeace, and others called on Ms. Jewell to institute a coal leasing moratorium until the Department can complete a review of the program to ensure both its environmental and financial integrity. The Interior Secretary has yet to respond.
“Sadly, the Interior Secretary seems intent on sustaining coal above all else,” said Nichols.
The 500MW Bonanza power plant is owned by Deseret Power Cooperative, the parent company for Blue Mountain Energy.