NAG expands Blue Gem foothold

NEW Canadian operator North American Gem has increased its Blue Gem seam holdings with the acquisition of the Granny Rose lease in Knox County, Kentucky, for a highwall/surface complex.

Donna Schmidt

The company said the lease, which will be immediately permitted for mining, contained Blue Gem coal throughout and at an average thickness of 2 feet.

NAG is preparing the mining permit for submission to the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources. The documentation outlines that about 250 acres will be mined using surface methods and approximately 100 acres will use highwall and/or auger techniques to extract.

The company anticipates Granny Rose to have relatively low mining costs due to favorable mining conditions and strip ratios. No mountaintop removal or valley fills will be involved.

In related news, NAG announced last week that it has engaged Deborah Moses of Engineering Consulting Services for engineering services at its Kentucky and West Virginia coal operations.

Moses, the southeast region director for ECSI, coordinates mining, environmental and surveying projects in the southern part of Kentucky for the consulting firm, and has expertise in reserve analysis, environmental audits and unmined mineral tax issues.

Under the producer’s agreement, Moses will be included in engineering services decisions while also evaluating coal leases for their development potential. She will also oversee the mine permit and preparation of the mine plan application.

Blue Gem seam coal is especially attractive to NAG, which will globally market the specialty coal typically used in silicon metal production.

In total, the producer holds about 5000 acres of coal reserve leases in Knox and Whitley counties in Kentucky, and is actively developing eight for permits.

Based in Vancouver, North American Gem has a coal focus in Saskatchewan, Kentucky and West Virginia.

Check out an overview of NAG’s No. 1 and No. 2 operations in the March 2010 issue of Coal USA, out soon.