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Andalex Resources operated the Pinnacle mine in Deadman Canyon, eight miles north-north-east of Price, Utah. The Pinnacle mine had been developed by Andalex subsidiary Amca Resources (later Tower Resources) beginning in 1981. In later years Andalex developed the adjacent Aberdeen and Apex mines, also in Deadman Canyon. The group of mines were known in documents as the Andalex Centennial Project or just the Centennial mine. The coal from the Pinnacle mine was trucked to the Wildcat Loadout on Utah Railway for shipment to customers.
Andalex Resources was a company with its U. S. offices in Louisville, Kentucky, but its top-level parent company existed behind multiple layers of corporate structure operating out of The Netherlands, hence the regular referrals to it being a Dutch company. Andalex Resources was in fact, a closely-held private company owned by the Mitchell-Green family of Geneva, Switzerland. It had its 150-year-old roots in Scotland, where its most prominent owner had been Sir Harold Mitchell, who died in 1984. (Read the Wikipedia article about Sir Harold Mitchell)
The following comes from the January 2006 issue of Coal Age magazine:
Andalex has been owned since its inception by the Mitchell-Green family. The Mitchell family originally became involved in the coal mining business in 1835 with operations in Scotland and subsequently began operating in Canada and the U.S. in 1911 and 1976, respectively. The U.S. coal business subsequently grew through a series of acquisitions of operations and Federal coal leases over the next several years to include the existing Andalex operations in Utah, as well as operations in Eastern and Western Kentucky. The family began shifting its ownership interests away from coal about a decade ago to focus on real estate and investments primarily in Europe. The Canadian business, Luscar Ltd., was sold in 1996 and the Eastern and Western Kentucky operations were divested by mid-1998. Andalex is the last remaining piece of the Mitchell-Green family's coal investment holdings.
Andalex's employee commitment is the story behind the company's Wildcat rail loadout northwest of Price. In the mid 1980s, the company received a large contract with the Intermountain Power Agency which necessitated both more tonnage and more coal deliveries. To fulfill the latter required the construction of a new loadout. But after 1982, the Utah coal market had plummeted. "We tried as much as possible to maintain a steady workforce, so, to avoid laying off our miners, rather than contract the loadout construction, we took half our underground workforce and built the Wildcat loadout ourselves, beginning in 1984. Our underground employees did 90% of the steel fabrication, 75% of the electrical work and poured 100% of the concrete. We built our own electrical substation and did almost all the interior wiring—even the engineering was done in house. Very few companies would accept this challenge." Wildcat loaded its first train in April 1985. The facility is designed to load 4 million tons a year and Andalex has shipped 44 million tons thus far.
Amca Resources / Andalex Resources
Amca Resources first shows up in available online local newspapers in western Kentucky in July 1978. Amca purchased the Center Coal mine near Nuckols in Calhoun County in western Kentucky in 1977. By January 1979, Luscar, Ltd, and its Amca subsidiary had purchased the Badgett coal properties (Caney Creek, Volunteer, and Cimarron mines) in western Kentucky. Amca Resources had its corporate offices in Vancouver, British Columbia, and was listed on the Vancouver stock exchange.
Amca Resources first came to Utah in 1978 when it began the development of the Pinnacle mine in Deadman Canyon. By 1981 the Pinnacle was being operated by Tower Resources, another Andalex subsidiary.
Andalex acquired 75 square miles of coal leases in Southern Utah's Kane County, on the southern part of the Kaiparowits plateau, and proposed to open an underground mine in the Smoky Hollow area. The coal was to be trucked from the mine to the coal-fired power plant at Moapa, Nevada. (St. George Daily Spectrum, April 26, 1989)
Andalex Resources purchased the coal properties of Amca Resources, which was reported as owning two large surface coal mines in western Kentucky, including the Caney Creek coal mine in Muhlenberg county, and the Volunteer coal mine in Hopkins county. The two mines together produced 2.4 million tons of coal in 1985. Andalex already owned the Pinnacle coal mine in Utah, which produced 700,000 tons during 1985. Andalex Resources was owned by Cada'am Holdings, which in-turn was owned by the Mitchell-Green families of Great Britian. The company was based in Netherlands Antilles, a group of Caribbean islands well-known as a tax haven for multinational corporations. (Louisville Courier Journal, February 5, 1986)
After the formation of Andalex Resources in 1986, taking over the Amca coal properties, Amca Resources remained an active company, focusing on its gold mining properties. The company terminated operation in November 1990, and was de-listed from the Vancouver stock exchange in March 1991.
Amca Resources had started in the 1970s when its parent company Luscar Group, Ltd., of Edmonton, Canada, purchased coal reserves in western Kentucky. Sir Harold Mitchell of Great Britian was president of Luscar and was closely involved in the day-to-day operations of the mining operations. His daughter Mary Jean Mitchell Green was equally closely involved, and made regular visits to the mines and company offices. Mitchell died in 1984, at age 84, leaving the family interests in the hands of Mary Jean, and her husband Peter Green. Mary Jean Mitchell Green died in May 1990, of cancer at age 38. (Louisville Courier Journal, December 8, 1986; June 5, 1990)
October 16, 1987
"Coal producers oppose merger deal -- Salt Lake City -- A group of Utah coal producers has opposed the proposed merger of Utah Power & Light Co. and PacifiCorp, contending the merged company "would have substantial dominance of the coal industry." The producers contend the merger would produce one of the largest suppliers of coal and the largest coal customer in the western United States. The producers, Coastal States Energy Co., Beaver Creek Coal Co., Cyprus Coal Co. and Andalex Resources Inc., are seeking Utah Public Service Commission approval to intervene in the hearings on the proposed merger." (Provo Daily Herald, October 16, 1987)
The Horse Canyon mine, formerly owned by U. S. Steel, was sold to Intermountain Power Agency and its partner Andalex Resources, as a potential source of fuel for the Intermountain Power Project near Delta. (Documents on file at the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, Permit C0070013)
May 11, 1990
Mary Jean Mitchell Green, chairwoman of the board of Andalex Resources, died of cancer at age 38. She had become chairwoman of Andalex and Luscar in 1983, upon the death of her father. She was succeeded as Chairman by her husband Peter Green. At the time, Andalex, shown as being owned by the Mitchell-Green family of Geneva, Switzerland, had coal mines in eastern Kentucky, western Kentucky, and in Utah. The family's residence was in Geneva, and Ms. Green was buried in Scotland. (Louisville Courier Journal, May 15, 1990)
The parent company of Andalex Resources, Inc. was reported as Andalex Resources B.V of Amsterdam. (Casper Star Journal, October 17, 1994)
May 9, 1997
Andalex Resources sold its Cimarron Division in western Kentucky, and moved its corporate offices to Salt Lake City. The corporate office in Louisville, Kentucky, with its 25 employees, was to be closed in July 1997. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 5, 1997)
In a report of ownership filed with the Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, Andalex Resources, Inc., listed the following properties:
ANDALEX Resources, Inc.
Mine: Wildcat Loadout
Permit No.: C/007/033
Permit No.: C/007/019
GENWAL Resources, Inc.
Jointly owned with Intermountain Power Agency
Mine: Crandall Canyon
Permit No.: C/015/032
WEST RIDGE Resources, Inc.
Jointly owned with Intermountain Power Agency
Mine: West Ridge
Permit Application No.: C/007/041
Andalex was one of the major suppliers of coal to the Intermountain Power Project near Delta, Utah. During 2003, Andalex was furnishing coal from its West Ridge and Genwal mines. Both mines were jointly owned by IPP and Andalex.
September 27, 2005
Andalex announced that its coal mines in Utah were being sold. The Mitchell family had been part of the coal industry since 1835. Andalex had its beginning in 1976. (Andalex Resources press release dated September 27, 2005)
Luscar, Ltd., sold its Andalex Resources coal properties in Utah to Murray Energy Corporation. Andalex had sold its coal properties in Kentucky in 1998.
(Luscar, Ltd., remained in the coal business, and by April 2018, was Canada's largest coal producer with mines in Alberta, Saskatchewan and British Columbia.)
August 9, 2006
Murray Energy Corporation "purchased all of the shares of the common stock of Andalex Resources, Inc and its subsidiaries, effective as of August 9, 2006. The Utah operations of Andalex including the Crandall Canyon Project, West Ridge Project, Tower Division and the Wildcat Loadout will be operated by UtahAmerican Energy, Inc, the Utah subsidiary of parent Murray Energy Corporation." (Murray Energy Corporation press release dated August 9, 2006)
May 11, 2011
Andalex Resources transferred ownership of the Wildcat loadout to Intermountain Power Agency. (Documents on file at the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining)
"Intermountain Power Agency has acquired all the necessary approvals, licenses, rights-of-way, and permits at both state and federal levels to conduct coal storage and loading operations on the plan area. The facility is designed to handle loading and crushing activities up to 5.5 million tons per year."
As of February 2018, Andalex Resources, Inc., was still active in Utah coal mining, along with other companies owned and controlled by Murray Energy, including UtahAmerican Energy, Inc., West Ridge Resources, Inc., and Genwal Resources, Inc.
Centennial Project: Pinnacle mine; Aberdeen mine; Apex mine; portals in Deadman Canyon.
The Centennial name comes from the initial coal lease in 1973 being held by "Centennial Coal Associates," with the initial opening being called the Pinnacle mine.
(Unless noted, the following is summarized from documents on file at the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, Permit C007019)
Tower Resources, Inc., first shows in online newspapers in July 1978, when the company applied to surface mine 74 acres in Hopkins County, Kentucky. The mine later became the Don-Bow Mine.
The Tower (later Andalex) Centennial Project is comprised of three mines located closely together in Deadman Canyon. There were three active mine openings: Pinnacle mine; Apex mine; and Aberdeen mine. The Pinnacle mine extracted coal first from the Gilson seam, then from the Centennial seam. The Centennial Seam, above the Gilson seam, was mined via rock tunnels from the existing Pinnacle Mine. The Apex mine extracted coal from the Centennial seam, and from the Lower Sunnyside seam, situated above the Centennial seam. The Aberdeen mine extracted coal from the Aberdeen seam (also known as the Castle Gate 'A' seam). The mines are located in the Right Fork of Deadman Canyon.
The Centennial Project mined four different coal seams in various areas within the coal leases held by Tower Resources (later Andalex Resources). The top seam is the Lower Sunnyside seam which varied from 4 to 5 feet. The Centennial seam is 80 feet below the Lower Sunnyside seam and ranged from 5 feet to 7 feet. The Gilson seam is 110 feet below the Centennial seam, and ranged from 4 to 9 feet. The lowest is the Aberdeen seam (also known as the Castle Gate 'A' seam), approximately 250 feet below the Gilson seam. The Aberdeen seam ranges between 4 and 13 feet of coal. Both longwall and room and pillar methods of mining were utilized in mining operations.
Prior to mining by Tower Resources in 1980, several small operations had mined a considerable amount of coal over the past 70 years in the Deadman Canyon area, including the Hileman, Olsen, Star Point, and Blue Flame No.1 mines. This small scale mining ceased in the Deadman Canyon area in 1964. The original coal lease for 235 acres of what later became the Centennial Project was in the hands of private individuals beginning in 1925, and continuing until February 1, 1973, when it was assigned to Centennial Coal Associates, after a series of exploratory drill holes were completed in November and December 1971.
Centennial Coal Associates applied to the U. S. Geologic Survey in 1976 for its initial coal mining permit. The coal lease was assigned to Amca Coal Leasing, Inc., in February, 1977, which in-turn applied in 1978 to the Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining for a mining permit. Centennial Coal Associates, and later Amca Coal Leasing continued to acquire additional coal leases. By 2010 successor Andalex held a total of 6,528 acres of coal leases as part of the Centennial Project.
The first document concerning Tower Resources in Utah came in March 1980 when Tower Resources sent a letter to the federal Mining Safety and Health Administration concerning the ventilation plan for the Pinnacle mine.
January 16, 1978
Carbon County approved Amca Coal Leasing's request to upgrade and improve County Road 299 (Deadman Canyon Road) as part of its planned coal mining operations. "Tower Resources, Inc. (Amca Coal Leasing, Inc.) has permission to use Carbon County Road 299 in conjunction with its mining activity and coal hauling and there are no restrictions as to the volume of traffic."
Tower Resources, Inc., using letterhead of Amca Coal Leasing, Inc., began the permitting process and development of its proposed Centennial project by developing the Pinnacle mine in Carbon County. The documents were signed by Sam Quigley, shown in other source material as the vice president of operations for Andalex Resources, renamed from the earlier Amca Resources. The Pinnacle mine was on the site of the old Zions mine, abandoned in the 1940s, which mined a different coal seam.
October 3, 1980
Mining operations in the form of mine development at the Pinnacle mine began. Tower Resources, Inc. had received final approval from regulators on September 5, 1980, following the required 30-day public comment period.
Tower Resources (later known as Andalex Resources) began mining operations in the Pinnacle mine October 1980. By late 1982, when the Apex mine was opened, Amca Coal Leasing was doing business as Tower Resources.
November 12, 1981
The federal Office of Surface Mining approved the mining plan of the Centennial Project. On March 12, 1991, the same office approved the mining plan to remove an additional 8.8 million tons of coal, on an additional 933 acres of federal coal leases.
Although research has not yet found the documentation, coal from the Tower mine was likely trucked to the C. V. Spur (later Savage Coal Terminal) on the former D&RGW south of Price, or possibly to the Wildcat loadout on Utah Railway.
The Apex mine was still being developed and was not yet in production. An inspection in January 1985 found that the mine was in production, and loading trucks.
Permit approvals for the Aberdeen mine commenced in March 1988. Surface facilities for the Aberdeen mine were completed early in 1990. At the time, Tower Resources was actively mining in the Lower Sunnyside (Apex Mine), Centennial (Pinnacle Mine), and Gilson (Pinnacle Mine) coal seams which lay above the Aberdeen coal seam. In 1989, surface construction began for the Aberdeen portals. The new portals were driven in a northwesterly direction into the coal seam crossing through old works that were mined in the 1930s. Longwall mining at Aberdeen Mine began in December 1995. Longwall panels are approximately 780 feet wide and up to approximately 8700 feet long.
By November 2003 the Apex mine had been closed and sealed. The crusher at the Pinnacle mine was moved to the Aberdeen mine.
Andalex Resources closed the Pinnacle mine. (Salt Lake Tribune, October 7, 2006)
As of July 2007 the Apex mine and the Pinnacle mine had been worked out. The Apex mine had been sealed at the portals. And although there were no plans to produce more coal from the Pinnacle mine, is was being used as ventilation and as electrical power to the Aberdeen mine below it in the Aberdeen seam. Power ran from a surface substation at the Pinnacle mine and then dropped down to the Aberdeen mine through a borehole connecting the two mines.
In March 2008, all activity at the Tower mine in Deadman Canyon (including the Aberdeen mine) was ceased and mining operations were idled.
March 28, 2008
UtahAmerican Energy ceased operations at the Tower mine on Friday March 28, 2008. The Tower mine had closed in August 2007 after six men had died in the same company's the Crandall Canyon mine, to allow an expert analysis of the geologic conditions in the Tower mine. The Tower mine reopened in January 2008. (KUTV.com, March 28, 2008)
April 3, 2008
Murray Energy closed the Tower mine due to unsafe geologic stress conditions in the mine, which was 2,7500 feet deep. (Associated Press, April 3, 2008)
As of February 2010, all future mine production from the Centennial Project was to be solely from the Aberdeen Mine.
Genwal Mine (1986-2007)
(Unless noted, the following is summarized from documents on file at the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, Permit C0150032)
Coal mining had been conducted in Crandall Canyon from November 1939 to September 1955, with a lull from 1955 to 1983. Coal was produced from this operation during the period of 1940 through 1955 and was sold locally for domestic use. The original federal coal lease had been in the name of John Sanders, a farmer, truck driver and coal mine operator living in Fairview. The Genwal mine proposal of 1980 included entering old workings (old Tip Top mine) and mining two seams of coal.
After Sanders died in May 1976, in April 1980 the heirs of John F. Sanders assigned the Crandall Canyon coal lease to Genwal Coal company. At the same time in 1980, the Sanders heirs also assigned an adjacent coal lease to Gent Flying Enterprises, a charter company based in Honaker, Virginia, flying a single helicopter. Gent Flying Enterprises later assigned their coal lease to Genwal. In May 1985, Robert Gent was shown as vice president of Genwal Coal Company.
As early as March 1980, documents and mine plans show that Genwal Coal Company was the proposed operator of the Crandall Canyon mine. Genwal made its initial application to mine the coal lease on December 17, 1980.
On November 24, 1982, the federal Office of Surface Mining approved Genwal's permit to commence mining operations, at which time Genwal was legally allowed access to the area to be leased, and to begin development of underground access tunnels and haulage ways, surface facilities, such as roads, buildings, coal storage areas, truck loading sites, and portal entries. This initial lease was for 256 acres. An additional 640 acres was added to the lease in October 1983, and in July 1984 Genwal submitted its application to the Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, the final approving agency, which required a full and complete reclamation plan for the period after mining operations ceased. The final environmental impact statement was approved on September 30, 1985, and active mining began after the required 30-day period of public comment. In January 1986, Genwal received its final approval for the Crandall Canyon mine. This final approval included all the required studies and the mine reclamation plan, and with this approval in place, production started, although there had already been extensive development work within the new mine.
In May 1985, Genwal was shipping limited amounts of coal taken as part of the development of necessary haulage tunnels and air passageways. The coal was being dumped over a high wall at the portal, onto a temporary storage pile, then loaded into trucks using a front-end loader. These limited shipments of coal from the Genwal mine in Crandall Canyon was likely trucked to the C. V. Spur (later Savage Coal Terminal) on the former D&RGW south of Price, or possibly to the Wildcat loadout on Utah Railway.
Genwal Coal Company was a wholly-owned subsidiary of Nevada Electric Investment Company (NEICO), which purchased Genwal in December 1988. At the time, Genwal operated a single coal mine in Utah. (Coal Age magazine, August 1990, page 31)
January 18, 1989
In 1988 Genwal Coal company was purchased by Nevada Power company, which had recently sold its coal leases in the undeveloped Alton Coal Field near Bryce Canyon National Park. (St. George Daily Spectrum, January 18, 1989)
An automated truck loading silo was installed in 1990, and a dual crusher and screen coal processing plant was installed in 1991.
On July 11, 1991, the lease was assigned to the joint ownership (undivided half interest each) of Intermountain Power Agency (IPA) and Nevada Electric Investment Company (NEICO), retaining the Genwal Coal company name. At the same time, the IPA and NEICO partnership was awarded a state coal lease, expanding the area for potential coal extraction. The 50 percent held by NEICO was held by its subsidiary company, Castle Valley Resources, Inc., which was treated as the sales arm of NEICO's overall parent company Sierra Pacific Resources. Castle Valley Resources registered to do business in Utah on December 29, 1989. Its registration was renewed on April 17, 1996.
NEICO was a direct subsidiary of Sierra Pacific Resources of Reno, Nevada, with another Sierra Pacific subsidiary, Nevada Power, providing retail electric service to over 1 million customers in Clark County, Nevada. Another Sierra Pacific subsidiary, Sierra Pacific Power, provides retail electric service to almost 300,000 retail customers in northern Nevada and northeastern California, as well as natural gas to more than 100,000 customers in northwestern Nevada. Sierra Pacific Power also provides wholesale electric power from its North Valmy Generating Station near Battle Mountain.
The Genwal Coal company mine in Crandall Canyon was opened as a joint project of IPP and Castle Valley Resources, a subsidiary of Nevada Electric Investment Company (NEICO). NEICO also owned, since 1989, the site of the former U. S. Steel coal washing plant at Wellington, where it planned to load rail cars for the trip to either Nevada Power company plants or to the Intermountain Power Plant near Delta.
As of May 1993: "The coal from the mine will be transported to the rail loadout or final destination by truck. The trucks are typical 45-ton tandem trailer coal haulers used in the Utah coal fields. Genwal uses a loading site on the Utah Railway located at Mohrland, Utah, a loading facility on the Denver & Rio Grande Railway in Wellington, Utah, and other independently owned loadouts within the Carbon/Emery county area."
In September 1993, and again in March 1994, the IPA and NEICO partnership obtained additional coal leases, public and private, expanding the total area of coal extraction.
In October 1993, Nevada Electric Investment Company (NEICO) notified state regulators that it was conveying 100% of the stock of Genwal Coal Company to Utah Energy Development Company, Inc. (UEDC). In addition, NEICO's 50% undivided interest in the Crandall Canyon Mine currently held in joint tenancy with Intermountain Power Agency (IPA), will be conveyed to UEDC. As a separate matter, Genwal Coal Company, permittee, and Castle Valley Resources, operator of the Wellington Preparation Plant are seeking to transfer their responsibilities under the permit to NEICO. The transfer did not take place until after the required approval by regulators, including a 30-day of public notice. Due to other difficulties, in February 1994 UEDC withdrew its proposed purchase of NEICO's interest in the Genwal mine. (UEDC had become involved with the purchase of the Hiawatha Mines Complex by American Fuel Corporation.)
"New Coal Loadout Facility being proposed -- Emery County may soon have a new coal loadout facility located on federal lands administered by the BLM. The BLM is processing a right-of-way application for a coal loadout facility for Genwal Coal Company. Genwal proposes to construct the facility near the old mining town of Mohrland, located approximately 10 miles northwest of Huntington adjacent to Utah Railroad's rail spur. Planned facilities at the site include a new access road, powerline, water pipeline, conveyors, stackers, hoppers, and office and shower facilities. The coal will be transported approximately 17 miles from the Crandall Canyon mine to the loadout. The proposed facility will handle unit trains up to 10,000 tons of coal per trip. Plans anticipate loading one train every two to three days. Construction plans call for May start up and completion by September." (Utah Coal News newsletter, March 1994)
March 23, 1995
NEICO sold its 50 percent interest in Genwal Coal company, and the Crandall Canyon mine, to Andalex Resources, Inc., using a newly created company Genwal Resources, Inc. The sale had first been announced on December 12, 1994, and the sale was approved after the required regulatory review and 30-day public notice. The Intermountain Power Agency retained its 50 percent interest in the Genwal mine.
In 1997, a major expansion of the surface facilities was performed in order to accommodate longwall mining at the Crandall Canyon #1 Mine by Genwal Resources, Inc. The 1997 expansion included a new truck loading facility.
During 1998 and 1999, coal from the Crandall Canyon mine was trucked to Hiawatha and loaded by front-end loader into rail cars for shipment by Utah Railway to Genwal's customers. This movement was in response to the lack of capacity at Andalex's Wildcat loadout, also on Utah Railway.
In March 2003 the coal lease for the South Crandall Canyon mine was awarded to Genwal Resources, and the mine opened in 2004. The Crandall Canyon #1 and South Crandall Canyon Mines utilized the same surface facilities for their respective operations. Due to economic conditions, the South Crandall Canyon mine was idled in 2006, while the Crandall Canyon Mine continued mining operations.
In 2006, UtahAmerican Energy, Inc. acquired several local mines, including the Crandall Canyon mines. UtahAmerican Energy continued mining operations at the Crandall Canyon site until August 2007, when an accident forced the closure of the Crandall Canyon No. 1 Mine. Since that time, the mine has been in "temporary cessation" status. The South Crandall Canyon mine was placed in "temporary cessation" status a month later. At the time operations ceased, the Crandall Canyon coal mine encompassed a total of 5,194 acres of federal and state coal leases.
"The Crandall Canyon #1 mine experienced a severe seismic event on August 6, 2007. Another significant seismic event was experienced on August 16, 2007. These events have lead to production being idled at both Crandall Canyon #1 and South Crandall mines. At this time the extent of the damage caused by the accident and the corrective action to be taken is unknown. This idling or cessation is to be considered temporary but its duration is unknown." "All equipment will be removed from both mines. Most but not all of the conveyor belting, conveyor structure, and water pipe will be removed." (Genwal Resources to Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, letter dated September 20, 2007)
Many have disputed the "seismic event" cause, stating that improper and excessive blasting during mining operations was the cause of the accident, and resulting deaths.
In 2013, UtahAmerican Energy, Inc. relinquished all of the federal and state coal leases related to the Crandall Canyon No. 1 mine, while retaining the coal leases for the South Crandall mine. When the subsurface federal coal leases for the Crandall Canyon No. 1 mine were relinquished, the surface rights to the northern portion of the surface facilities in Crandall Canyon reverted back to the U.S. Forest Service.
UtahAmerican has applied to develop the South Crandall Canyon coal lease located to the south, accessed from the surface facilities at the Crandall Canyon mine, to be known as the Princess mine, but as of late 2018, both mines were still idle.
West Ridge Mine (1999-2019)
(Unless noted, the following is summarized from documents on file at the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, Permit C0070041)
The West Ridge Project consists of the West Ridge Mine in the Book Cliffs coal region in central Utah near East Carbon City. The project is owned on a 50/50 basis by Intermountain Power Agency and Andalex Resources, Inc. It was being developed and was to be operated by West Ridge Resources, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Andalex. West Ridge is a longwall mining operation with full production planned for the year 2001 at the rate of 3.5 million tons per year. The mine is expected to produce about 42 million tons of coal from the existing leases. The existing mine plan assumes that mining in the area northeast of Whitmore Canyon will be limited by heavy cover (3000 feet or more).
The mine consists of one longwall section and two continuous miner sections. Both longwall and continuous miner methods are employed to recover the coal resource. Longwall are the primary production method, while continuous miners are used mainly for mine development to support the longwall method. The longwall panels are laid out to maximize recovery of the primary coal reserves. Continuous miners are utilized to develop main entries, longwall gate entries, sumps and other similar development areas.
The surface facilities are situated in C Canyon, north of the old underground mine workings in the Sunnyside No.1 Mine. The area being mined is located northwest of the old Sunnyside No.1 underground mine workings. The lease was, at one time, held by U.S. Steel Corp., who authorized Kaiser Coal Company to extend a set of underground test entries from the Sunnyside No.1 mine part way through the lease.
Andalex began active construction of the surface facilities at the West Ridge mine, prior to active development. A paved road to the mine from State Route 123 about 5 miles east of East Carbon City was completed in December 1999. The permit approval process for the West Ridge coal mine began in January 1998, following the acquisition of an underground mining lease from Standard Oil company in March 1997.
Active development work began in January 2000, developing the needed mine portals, opening haulage tunnels and airways, and setting up the longwall machine, production mining began at the West Ridge mine in January 2001. Mining was by longwall machine, with longwall mining projected to end in late 2015, and pillar mining projected to end in mid 2019.
Although research has not yet found the documentation, coal from the West Ridge mine was likely trucked to the C. V. Spur (later Savage Coal Terminal) on the former D&RGW south of Price, or possibly to the Wildcat loadout on Utah Railway.
By 2004, coal production at the West Ridge had not yet started due to permitting delays caused by an environmental review. (Sun Advocate, March 16, 2004)
Murray Energy closed the West Ridge mine in December 2007 due to concerns of geologic stresses making the mine unsafe. The concerns were addressed and the long wall machine being used in the mine returned to production after better roof controls were put in place. The geologic problems continued and the mine was formally shut down in November 2012 and its 102 miners were laid off. (St. George Spectrum & Daily News, December 5, 2007; February 8, 2009; November 10, 2012)
Based on documents filed with the Utah Division of Oil Gas & Mining, the West Ridge mine is no longer active, with periods of document filing jumping from 1998 to 2007, then to 2018. The large portion of the coal leases held by the company were relinquished by 2023, with the company retaining the area surrounding the surface plant buildings.
October 16, 2020
Utah Land Resources -- Ownership of the West Ridge mine passed from UtahAmerican Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Murray Energy, to a new company, Utah Land Resources, a subsidiary of American Consolidated Natural Resources, the reorganized Murray Energy company which had declared bankruptcy in 2019. (Documents on file at the Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining; the official date may be August 24, 2020, when the request was sent to DOGM)