Island Creek Coal Co. in Utah

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This page was last updated on February 3, 2019.

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The timeline below, from 1965 through 1976, appears to be the period of involvement of Island Creek Coal Comapny in Utah coal mining.

Active mining by Island Creek in Utah was in the 1965-1968 time period. After 1968, the properties held by Island Creek were coal leases, held while exploration and permitting took place.


April 29, 1965
Controlling interest in Heiner Coal Company was sold to Island Creek Coal Company, of Huntington, West Virginia, on April 29, 1965. Island Creek was the nation's largest producer of coal. Its 1964 tonnage exceeded 21 million tons. (Salt Lake Tribune, April 30, 1965)

June 1965
At the time of the purchase, Heiner Coal controlled 5,300 acres of federal, state and private coal leases. (Coal Age magazine, June 1965, page 45)

August 1965
"Heiner's subsidiary, Minerals Development Corp., operates a small coal mine at Columbia, Emery County, that employs 25 with an annual production of 125,000 tons. This mine, however, will be exhausted in another 2 years. Mr. Heiner, whose coal experience covers more than 30 years, becomes executive vice president of Heiner Coal Co. in charge of western operations. He organized Heiner Coal Co. as a sales company in 1950 and it was incorporated as a closely held family concern in 1955. In the late 1940s, he was president and general manager of Utah Fuel Co." (Coal Age magazine, August 1965, page 46)

January 25, 1968
Island Creek Coal company closed the Heiner mines, and later (in 1968), Island Creek Coal company was sold to Occidental Petroleum Corporation. The Occidental then controlled Heiner's coal leases, which it later sold. (Patterns and trends in federal coal lease ownership, 1950-80, page 32; New York Times, January 26, 1968)

Island Creek and Occidental Petroleum

January 29, 1968
Island Creek Coal Company and Occidental Petroleum Corporation announced on August 2, 1967 that merger talks would begin. The agreement to merge was announced on October 12, 1967, and the merger was approved by Island Creek shareholders on January 25, 1968. On January 29, 1968, the merger was made final, and Island Creek became a subsidiary of Occidental. (New York Times, August 2, 1967; October 13, 1967; January 26, 1968; March 21, 1968)

Island Creek and PG&E

July 9, 1975
Pacific Gas & Electric bought an option on 7,600 acres of coal leases from Island Creek Coal company of Lexington, Kentucky. The leases held 150 million tons of coal reserves, located about 13 miles east of Helper, and had been sold to Island Creek by Claude Heiner in 1965. (Helper Journal, July 9, 1975)

(This was the Dugout Canyon mine, and the assets being sold were the leases themselves. Production did not start until 1998 under Canyon Fuel ownership.)

May 18, 1976
PG&E exercised its option and formally purchased the Island Creek Coal company's leases in Dugout canyon from Occidental Petroleum. The actual purchase was of Heiner Coal company, a subsidiary of Island Creek Coal company. The coal was to be mined by underground methods and shipped by unit train to an unnamed and unbuilt power plant in California. The purchase price was reported as $10.7 million. (Salt Lake Tribune, May 18, 1976)

Pacific Gas and Electric bought Island Creek Coal company (Heiner Coal company) in 1976, in anticipation of higher oil prices for its oil- and gas-fired power plants in Northern California. It was reported that 8,000 of PG&E's 14,000 megawatt capacity was from oil- and gas-fired power plants. It was planning four coal-fired power plants in October 1977. (Salt Lake Tribune, October 9, 1977, "last year")

January 24, 1979
To add to its coal reserves, PG&E bought an additional 89 million tons of coal reserves (not in Utah) from Kennecott Coal Company, a unit of Kennecott Copper Corporation, for a reported $8 million. The property consisted of 2,736 acres of federal coal leases and 1,170 acres of private coal land. (New York Times, January 24, 1979)

(PG&E created a subsidiary, Eureka Energy, to manage and operate its coal reserves. In February 1982 Eureka Energy, after the collapse of its planned Montezuma Slough coal-fired power plant, sold its interest in the Sage Point-Dugout Canyon Project to Sunedco Coal Company, a unit of Sun Oil Company.)

February 10, 1982
Eureka Energy sold its interest in the Sage Point--Dugout Canyon Project to Sunedco Coal Company, a unit of Sun Oil Company. Pending the completion of the governmental permitting processes (85 percent federal and 15 percent state), construction of access roads into Fish Creek Canyon and Dugout Creek Canyon was to begin on or about June 1, 1982. (Utah Division of Oil Gas and Mining, Permit C0070009; Sage Point-Dugout Canyon Mine)

(Read more about the Dugout Canyon mine, and its many various owners.)