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New underground coal mine waiting on permitting process

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A proposed underground coal mine in Wright Township is awaiting final permitting approvals from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources before beginning the hiring process and starting production.

The proposed Landree Mine is located at the northwest corner of the intersection of County Road 1500 West and County Road 700 North, southwest of Jasonville.

Cory Smith, who serves as treasurer and spokesman for the mine owners -- The Lily Group, Inc. of Sullivan, said Tuesday morning, "We're still in the permitting process. We are hoping to wind that up real shortly."

When asked about a timeline to start production, Smith replied, "It's really hard to say. Once we get our final revisions back to the state, it's in their hands. As soon as they give us the go-ahead, we are going to be ready to roll ... we are just kind of in a holding pattern until we get everything satisfied with the state.

"It's a complex process. DNR has been awesome to work with. They are doing everything they can to help us. We are just trying to get all of our 'i's' dotted and 't's' crossed."

Smith said the actual start of production is determined by several factors, including weather and installation of equipment.

"After we get their (the state) approval, hopefully we would be able to start within the next 30 to 60 days," Smith said. "It's a process."

Lily Group was founded in the fall of 2007 by Rick Risinger of Sullivan.

Smith said no employees have been hired, but noted that the number in the workforce will be a step-up process to 100 employees once production gets in full swing.

In Indiana, all coal mining operations are required to obtain a permit from the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Reclamation.

There are three steps to the process:

* Pre-mining inventory. The operator must include the existing land uses and a description of the condition and productivity of the land to be mined.

* Mine operation plan. The plan shows how the site will be mined; how the soils with be removed and saved; how water will be handled.

* Reclamation. The coal company must show their plan for grading, soil replacement, and re-vegetation to pre-mining levels of productivity.

The Lily Group received a seven-year tax abatement on equipment and property improvements from the Greene County Council earlier this year.

During the abatement, the taxes paid would be graduated on an upward percentage scale over the seven years until a 100 percent level in 2017.

According to the terms of the Notice of Adoption of the Designated Economic Revitalization Area, the tax abatement shall be allowed to Lily Group only if it satisfies the condition that it employ at least 20 persons at the facility by May 1, 2010 and 100 persons at the facility by May 1, 2011.

One of the stipulations that the county council insisted on the developers including in their final revitalization area and abatement documents is at least 60 percent of the hired employees would be Greene County residents.

Lily Group also received approval from the Greene County Commissioners, who signed off on a federal grant application, that will provide the coal company with a $1 million Disaster Recovery Grant to purchase mine equipment.

Smith pointed out that a recent study by an independent firm has shown coal reserves that will span a minimum of 20 years.

The coal will be accessed by slope to a depth which ranges from 114 to 175 feet, with an average of 130 feet. Coal thickness ranges from 1.96 to 4.84 feet, according to information from the company.

The firm has about 2,800 acres in its permit application -- including 1,400 that Lily owns the mineral rights and another 1,400 that they have leased the mineral rights. The company owns about 20 actual acres where the mining operation will be based.

All of the acreage is located in Greene County, Smith said.

He also said the company plans to purchase more than $5 million in production equipment that would be subject to full taxation after the seven-year abatement period passes.

Smith noted that the company at its own expense is increasing the electrical capacity in the area to accommodate the new mining equipment, which will have a benefit to the nearby town of Jasonville.


Comments
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jobs to greene county and jasonville...almost sounds too good to be true, but here it is in black and white :)

-- Posted by oddities on Tue, Mar 16, 2010, at 6:59 PM

This is all assuming that America will still be using coal in 20 years.

-- Posted by Forrest on Tue, Mar 16, 2010, at 11:15 PM

If they only own 20 acres why are they clear cutting Hillenbrand, State Wildlife ground that butts ups to thier 20 acres west of them, did we the tax payers miss something here? Did the county roads get bonded, they only have a ten ton limit.

As far as I can remember the State is suppose to protect the land and now all who could enjoy it now has to stay off the land, thats good.

-- Posted by Gilmour on Wed, Mar 17, 2010, at 9:53 AM

According to the Busseron Creek Watershed website, this area provides habitat for endangered species such as the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron and the Blanding's Turtle and special species such as the Monarch Butterfly. The area that the Landree Mine will be operating is part of the Headwaters Big Branch region. It is also home to endangered species that include the bobcat and the eastern box turtle and many species of raptors. This land was "Paid for by hunters, anglers, and trappers" and "For all wildlife to thrive and all people to enjoy". If anyone questions this statement, then please drive out to Hillenbrand check-in station (drive your nice family car, it'll be a more exciting drive) and read the sign for yourself. I was told this morning that this land is currently closed for tree clearing and future mining activity (remember that permits haven't been finalized yet and they are clear cutting State property). There are no signs posted that state the area is closed. For people that scream "tree hugger", I'm an avid hunter and fisherman and neighboring landowner. The local roads going to and from my property don't even mimic county roads. We currently have better trails at Redbird. If Lily Group has bonded roads in the local area then they should be forced to fix them. If they haven't paid for bond, then they should be penalized for current activity on the property that add to further degradation of current road conditions.

-- Posted by Gilmour2 on Wed, Mar 17, 2010, at 12:11 PM

This article does not mention the fact that mine has obtained surface rights to the the Hillenbrand Fish and Wildlife and currently clear cutting the Hillenbrand property which was bought for outdoor enthusiasts with tax payer money so the mine is yet again going to make a profit from the taxpayers. It also hasn't been mentioned that one of the upper management of the proposed mine bought a neighboring piece of land with a large reservoir that flows into the Busseron Conservancy so the mine can easily hide waste water discharge problems in the reservoir without controversy.

How can the mine be allowed to clear cut state property if they haven't been approved for the permits yet? Surpassingly the Hillenbrand

The following excerpt is straight from DNR's website. It does not mention anything about clear cutting the land.

"Most revenues used in land acquisition, development, operation and maintenance of Hillenbrand Fish and Wildlife Area are from the sale of game bird habitat hunting stamps and federal aid programs supporting sport fish and wildlife restoration. Federal funds are derived from taxes levied on sport fishing and hunting equipment. Indiana hunters and anglers are proud to provide this property for the enjoyment of all people."

I've never seen any mine have enough coal for 20 years, yet another far fetched prediction.

How is the power system going to benefit Jasonville? Is it coming thru Jasonville...highly unlikely. Does the mine have permission from the local landowners to install such electrical system? I've not seen any hints of work started on the electrical system.

The logging company clear cutting the Hillenbrand area is breaking the weight limits and destroying what is left of the county roads. Some areas of the roads are literally one lane wide now. Go take a drive down county road 1500W between 800N and 700N and take a look for your self. Hope you have 4-wheel drive.

It would be interesting to know how a "Disaster Recovery Grant" of $1 million can be used to support a a coal mine which will in turn make a profit, but Greene County can't afford to fix roads. It seems our roads should be considered a disaster and need recovery assistance.

I'm am not against creating jobs in Greene County. I'm against the uninformed decisions the mine is making and how the Hillenbrand Fish and Wildlife (paid for by wildlife enthusiasts) is being destroyed so someone can make a profit not to mention the wildlife habitat being destroyed.

-- Posted by crazywhiteboy1 on Wed, Mar 17, 2010, at 12:54 PM


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