Atlas-Dirty Devil Coal Mine

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This page was last updated on June 28, 2022.

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The following comes from a civil case, Marine Midland Bank v. Keplinger & Associates, Inc., United States District Court, Southern District of New York. March 31, 1982.

In the summer of 1977, MMB (Marine Midland Bank, a New York banking corporation) was approached by investors seeking financial resources for the development of a Utah coal mine. Before entering into any contractual commitments, MMB obtained a geological report of the mining site prepared by Miller (J. W. Miller & Associates). The Miller Report allegedly assured MMB that development of the mine could yield a recovery of nearly 27 million tons of clean coal. To evaluate the reliability of the conclusions reached by Miller, MMB sought the services of Keplinger (Keplinger & Associates, Inc.), an expert coal consultant, who agreed to review all the geological data of the project and to report to MMB on potential coal recoveries.

In August, 1977, Keplinger represented to MMB in a written report that the procedures employed by Miller in the calculation of coal reserves had been performed in accordance with standard professional practice; that the reserves were adequate for large scale surface mining, and that the coal quality would meet consumer requirements. Thereupon, in November, 1977 and continuing into the following year, MMB disbursed funds to finance the project. During this same period of time, plaintiffs allege that Keplinger was to continue its reports to MMB on the status of the project.

By the fall of 1978, it became apparent that the site's recoverable coal would not meet the defendants' predictions upon which MMB had purportedly relied. This conclusion was supposedly later confirmed in reports made by Keplinger. The Atlas-Dirty Devil Mining partnership has since filed a petition under Chapter XI of the Bankruptcy Act. MMB commenced this action against both defendants to recover approximately $9 million in unpaid loans incurred from financing of this now bankrupt project.

The following comes from USGS Professional Paper 1625-B, Coal Resources of the Henry Mountains Coal Field, Utah; 1999.

Small-scale mining of Ferron coal took place on a longer term basis at the far northern end of the field near Factory Butte. Mining in this area began in 1908 and continued to produce coal for local use through the 1950's. Renewed mining for electric power generation was attempted in the late 1970's by the Atlas-Dirty Devil Mining Company, who opened a surface mine in June 1978, trucked the coal to Green River, Utah, and sent test shipments by rail to the power plant at Moapa, Nev. Problems with coal quality prevented this operation from achieving full production.

John Shine wrote on June 23, 2022.

The local Historical Society here in Grand Junction came into the possession of a slide collection that was taken by the late Warren Kiefer. His notes are somewhat vague so I am posting some of the pictures here asking for help. In this picture, three Rio Grande SD45's and a SD40T-2 were taken at the Atlas coal loadout. I know that this facility was somewhere west of Green River but not sure where and I am having a tough time trying to find out any information about this mine. The slide mount is stamped June, 1979 but obviously it was taken earlier in the year with the snow on the ground.

(View the photo of D&RGW loading a train at the Atlas Loadout; used with permission)

Mark Hemphill wrote on June 27, 2022.

Atlas was just east of Sphinx at MP 559.0, and consisted of a 9,850-foot side track off the south side of the main track, and a flood loader working off a live stockpile. The coal was trucked from the Atlas-Dirty Devil Mine near Factory Butte, 80 miles to the southwest, which was a strip mine. The mine loaded a single train only in 1979, then closed. The coal quality was too poor and the mining cost too high, due to highly variable partings between the seams and local faulting and rolls, to pay for the mining and transportation cost. The single trainload was sold to Nevada Power. Mine cost FOB loadout was $14.83/ton, way out of line with its value.