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Release Date: 05/16/12
Contacts: Vanessa Delgado, Public Affairs Specialist, 303-239-3681    
  Shannon Borders, Public Affairs Specialist, 970-240-5399    

BLM Competitive Coal Lease Sale in Elk Creek Nets Nearly $1 Million (05-15-12)

Lakewood, Colo. – Today the Bureau of Land Management leased a 726-acre tract for $990,264 to Oxbow Mining, LLC to develop approximately 4 million tons of recoverable coal in the Elk Creek area in Gunnison County.

Oxbow currently operates the Elk Creek Mine, which is an underground longwall coal mine just north of the town of Somerset, Colo. The 726-acre federal coal lease would expand Oxbow’s existing underground mining operations for an additional year. All BLM coal leases are subject to an annual rental fee of $3 per acre as well as an eight percent royalty payment for developed coal.

Coal mining has existed in the area for more than 100 years. The Oxbow coal mine employs between 250 and 335 miners and generates approximately $7.6 million in royalties – of which approximately 50 percent goes back to the State of Colorado.

The BLM’s open, competitive leasing process awards the lease to the high bidder who successfully meets or exceeds the fair market value of the coal, which is determined by the BLM.

Roughly, 90 percent of coal deposits in Colorado occur on public lands.  Currently, there are nine producing coal mines (seven underground and two surface operations) encompassing 75,000 acres in the state.  In Fiscal Year 2011, coal energy production on BLM Colorado public lands directly contributed $884 million to the economy.

The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land, the most of any Federal agency. This land, known as the National System of Public Lands, is primarily located in 12 Western states, including Alaska. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. The BLM's mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations. In Fiscal Year 2015, the BLM generated $4.1 billion in receipts from activities occurring on public lands.

  2850 Youngfield Street      Lakewood, CO 80215  

Last updated: 05-16-2012