Rosebud lifts veil on Vail

PENNSYLVANIA operator Rosebud Mining dedicated the newest US underground operation yesterday with a groundbreaking for the Vail room and pillar mine in Ohio which is scheduled for first production in 2011. Donna Caudill reports from the ceremony.
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Representatives of the Ohio Coal Association and Ohio Natural Resources Department joined Rosebud Mining CEO Cliff Forrest (center) at the Vail mine.

Donna Schmidt

The first underground coal operation in the state in two years, Vail will extract from the Middle Kittanning/No. 7 seam, which averages 50 inches in height.

Average overburden at the new operation will be 300 feet, though officials noted it will mine up through 150ft of cover.

While Rosebud’s total holdings in Harrison County total 15,000 acres, the permit for the new mine covers just 3400 acres of that.

Rosebud president Cliff Forrest told ILN that future plans include expanding the property into two or three more operations. General manager of Ohio operations Mike Jamison added that all future development would involve underground mining.

Site preparation for Vail has commenced, and Forrest told a large crowd at Tuesday’s unveiling that initial production could be realized as early as next April.

Once coal begins to be cut, it will initially be processed at the Tuscarawas preparation facility at the site of Vail’s nearby sister mine, but Rosebud is planning two units identical to that plant in the new mine’s home of Freeport.

Rosebud officials report that the reserve is low in sulfur and mercury, and will be ideal not just for domestic customers, but also will have benefits for the global market.

When fully operational, the eastern Ohio mine is expected to produce about 750,000t annually and employ approximately 100 individuals. Over its expected 25-year lifespan, Vail could produce $US1.4 billion worth of coal at current market prices.

“We saw a great opportunity. I’m very excited,” Forrest said.

“Rosebud Mining Company is proud to expand its Ohio operations. The new mine will provide high-quality coal and new job opportunities for the Appalachian region for 30 years.

“Ohio’s regulatory climate and transportation infrastructure were key in our decision to invest here instead of less predictable surrounding states.”

Read more details about Ohio’s newest mine in the December issue of Coal USA Magazine, out soon.