While company officials did not immediately respond to an ILN request for more details, the US Mine Safety and Health Administration confirmed that the McLean County project known as the Delaware mine would be halted for a year.
“The mine was projected to start production sometime in 2012, but the recent delay may push that date into 2013,” agency spokesperson Amy Louviere told ILN Tuesday.
She did not indicate the company’s impetus for the move, but did say that the proposed operation near Calhoun was in a non-producing status.
“The only work that has been done is tree-cutting and some ground and gravel work on the access road,” she said.
“The company has a legal ID and training plan at this time.”
She said the producer had told the agency’s district office in Beaver Dam that all work would be suspended for “possibly a year”
Once the mine commences development again, MSHA said its plan included coal extraction underground via the prolific Kentucky No. 9 seam.
Delaware’s reserves total enough to support a multi-unit mine for several years, though Louviere said no details were available at this time on production budgets or staffing needs.
Massey spokesperson Micah Ragland told local newspaper the Courier Press last week that the producer “is still evaluating the reserves and has not finalized a potential mine plan”
The operation is under the umbrella of Massey subsidiary West Kentucky Energy, which was incorporated in 2009, though Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet spokesperson Ricki Gardenhire told the news outlet last week that the original mine plan for Delaware was submitted to the state in 2005 and its permit was issued in July 2008.
Massey has 23 active mining complexes in West Virginia, Virginia and eastern Kentucky.