BLM conducts coal lease sale for Dunn Ranch Coal Tract


Bureau of Land Management

BLM Office:

Colorado State Office

Media Contact:

Kirby-Lynn Shedlowski

Lakewood, Colo. - The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) today held a competitive coal lease sale by sealed bid for the Dunn Ranch Coal Tract, a 2,462.07 acre area in LaPlata County, Colorado estimated to contain approximately 9.54 million tons of recoverable coal.

The BLM received one bid from GCC Energy, LLC., out of Tijeras, New Mexico, for $3,434,400, or $1,394.92 per acre. This result is considered preliminary and will not be confirmed until the BLM sale panel determines if the bid meets or exceeds the estimated fair market value for the coal resource in the Dunn Ranch Tract; the BLM will not accept any bid that is less than estimated fair market value.

If the BLM sale panel determines that a high bid meets or exceeds fair market value, the BLM will only issue the lease after the Department of Justice has been allowed 30 days to conduct an anti-trust review of the bidder’s coal holdings. When a coal lease is issued, an annual rental payment of $3 per acre is required, along with a royalty payment of 8 percent of the value of coal produced by underground mining methods.  

The tract, located approximately 20 miles west of Durango, Colorado was offered for sale in response to a Lease-by-Application submitted by GCC Energy and is adjacent to their existing King II coal mine. The BLM analyzed the potential impacts of leasing this coal resource in an Environmental Assessment and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact and a Decision Record on Oct. 11, 2019.  The public was invited to participate in all aspects of this environmental analysis.

As consistent with Executive Order 13783 of March 28, 2017, Promoting Energy Independence and Economic Growth; and Secretarial Order 3349, American Energy Independence, the BLM plays an important role in the responsible development of oil and gas, coal, critical minerals, and renewable sources – all of which can occur on public lands.  Energy produced in the United States is beneficial to national security, national and local economies, and job creation.

Mining coal from BLM Colorado lands and minerals generated $784.4 million in total economic output and supported over 2,000 jobs statewide in fiscal year 2018. Coal mines in Colorado generated $2 million in Federal royalties in 2018. This revenue was split with the State of Colorado. There are 49 coal leases covering 80,675 acres in Colorado, with six producing coal mines (two are surface mines, the remaining four are subsurface mines) totaling 60,000 acres with an estimated economic output of $1.2 billion.


The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.

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