Vermillion Mine

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

On August 11, 2010, Sunrise Coal, LLC of Terre Haute, Ind., said they were planning a proposed coal mine in southern Vermilion County, IL. The anticipated life expectancy of the mine is 30 years. The company has given notice to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources for test drilling in the area and has leased 17,000 Vermilion County acres from landowners for exploratory purposes. The company said it is reviewing quality and rock mechanics and hopes to determine the property as a minable reserve before the end of 2010. If the coal company chooses to move forward, the permit process for the mine would take 18 months to two years to complete.[1]

In March 2011, president of Hallador and its Sunrise Coal subsidiary Brent Bilsland said the company hopes to submit a mine permit application to the Illinois Office of Mines and Minerals before the end of the year. Hallador does not expect to need a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, he said. Bilsland confirmed the company also is looking for additional reserves near the Carlisle Mine.[2]

Local opposition

Concerned residents in the area conducted a meeting in early July 2010 in Broadlands regarding the potential problems that could arise with a coal mine in the neighborhood. Concerns such as water availability, water quality, and protection of farmland were raised. Sunrise Coal stated that if the mine is installed they plan to extract coal using the "room and pillar" method of mining, not the longwall mining method.[1]

Citizen groups working on the Vermillion Mine

  • Stand Up to Coal - According to its website, "Stand Up To Coal is dedicated to informing residents, farmers and landowners in Champaign and Vermilion Counties, IL about the negative effects that Sunrise Coal, LLC's planned coal mine could have on our lands, waters and health."[3]

Sunrise Coal

Sunrise Coal has operated in Vermilion County before, under the name of Catlin Coal, which developed the Riola mine south of Catlin. Sunrise Coal, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hallador Energy Company of Colorado. Founded in 2002 by Ron and Steve Laswell, the company has focused on underground coal mining. In 2006, Hallador Energy purchased part of Sunrise Coal and began the development of the Carlisle Mine, which removes more than three million tons annually. According to the IDNR, the proposed mining area borders both most recently closed Vermilion County mines. The Riola portal is to the north and the Vermilion Grove portal lies along its eastern boundary.[1]

Mine Data

  • Owner: Hallador Energy Company
  • Parent company: Sunrise Coal
  • Location: Vermillion County, IL
  • GPS coordinates:
  • Production: 8 million tons (projected)
  • Type of coal: High-sulfur
  • Mine type: Underground
  • Equipment: Room and pillar
  • Number of employees: 300 (projected)
  • Recoverable Reserves:

Articles and resources

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 April Evans, "Coal mine proposed for east-central Illinois" Chicago tribune, August 12, 2010.
  2. "Hallador Pursuing New Underground Mine in Illinois" Coal Age, March 31, 2011.
  3. Stand Up to Coal, accessed October 2011