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Release Date: 05/01/12
Contacts: Steven Hall 303-239-3672    
  Vanessa Delgado 303-239-3681    

BLM Offers Land in Elk Creek for Competitive Coal Lease (04-30-12)

MONTROSE, Colo.—  The Bureau of Land Management in Colorado will host a competitive coal lease sale on May 15 for a Lease By Application filed by Oxbow Mining, LLC, for a 785.79-acre tract in the Elk Creek area in Gunnison County.

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. The minimum bid for the tract is $100 per acre or fraction thereof. All leases are subject to an annual rental fee of $3 per acre in addition to an eight percent royalty payment for developed coal.

Oxbow currently operates the Elk Creek Mine, which is an underground longwall coal mine just north of the town of Somerset, Colorado. The 785.79-acre federal coal lease tract contains approximately 3.8 million tons of recoverable coal that will be bypassed if not leased.

Coal mining has been conducted in the area for more than 100 years. The Elk Creek Mine has been in operation since 2002 and produces approximately 3.8 million tons of coal annually. The Oxbow coal mine employs between 250 and 335 miners and generates approximately $7.6 million in royalties, of that approximately 50 percent goes back to the state of Colorado.

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

For more information about participating in the competitive coal lease sale contact Kurt Barton, BLM Colorado Land Law Examiner, at 303-239-3714, or

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.

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Last updated: 02-27-2013