PBS to close mine

QUECREEK owner PBS Coals is removing another operation from its operational portfolio – one of its Barbera mines in Pennsylvania.

Donna Schmidt

According to local newspaper the Tribune-Democrat, PBS and sister company RoxCoal had reapplied for a permit to operate the complex, as neither of the two mines had been operational for more than six years.

Department of Environmental Protection district mining manager William Plassio told the paper the company agreed to close the No. 1 portal and will begin reclamation work at the site during the US spring.

The mine had remained open by the owner because the No. 1 portal had entries into the No. 2 portal, where drilling will commence later this year to verify reserves. It is estimated that 80% of the coal block remains at No. 2, according to Plassio.

The current permit for the room and pillar Barbera complex encompasses 2669 underground acres and 76 surface acres.

Last month, a Pennsylvania judge ruled that PBS and its subsidiaries and related engineers could be held liable in claims filed by eight of the nine miners who were trapped underground at the Quecreek mine during the summer of 2002.

Much of those claims centre around faulty mine maps submitted to state and federal authorities before work commenced.

Consol Energy, however, was cleared of any liability in the suits. It owned the reserves at one time but sold them to a group of three Indiana County, Pennsylvania companies owned by William McIntire, who in turn sold them to PBS.