Deer Creek Nearing Complete Closure

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On Saturday, Energy West laid off most of the workers at the Deer Creek Mine in Emery County, having given 60 days prior notice. The last day of work for the remaining employees will be June 28. All of the equipment has been removed from the mine at this point.

According to a press release issued by Pacificorp on December 15, 2014, following an unsuccessful 18-month attempt to sell the Deer Creek coal mine, PacifiCorp announced that it will close the mine in Emery County because it has become too costly to operate for customers. PacifiCorp also signed a long-term coal supply agreement with Bowie Resource Partners LLC to supply coal for the Huntington Power Plant. Energy West Mining Company, PacifiCorp’s subsidiary operator of the mine, notified the mine’s workers, 182 at the time, of the pending closure.

“We have evaluated what is in the best interest of our customers and determined it no longer makes economic sense to keep the Deer Creek Mine open,” said Micheal Dunn, PacifiCorp Energy president and CEO. “The new long-term coal supply agreement with Bowie will supply PacifiCorp with reasonably priced coal so we can continue to provide safe and reliable electric service to our customers.”

According the December press release, Deer Creek Mine had an estimated five years or less of reserves, but much of the remaining coal has higher ash and sulfur content that has made mine production considerably more expensive and has made it more expensive to comply with air quality standards. Bowie Resource Partners, LLC has signed a contract to provide the coal needed for the Huntington Power Plant and will source the plant from its mines in Utah.

Pacificorp also stated that rapidly escalating pension liabilities for the mine’s represented workforce was a large factor in the economic viability of the mine.

“The company is awaiting approval from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) of the final closure plan,” a spokesman for the company said. “Once final approval from MSHA is received, the mine will be permanently closed. The mine site will be restored according to federal and state requirements of the mining permit. This process takes several years to fully complete. Monitoring in subsequent years is also performed to ensure effectiveness.”

Deer Creek mine, located near the Huntington Power Plant, has been operating since 1974.

Further inquiries regarding the closure can be made to newsdesk@pacificorp.com.

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