New Horizon Mine reaches agreement with miners’ union, will cease mining operations and begin reclamation activities
New Horizon Mine, located in Nucla, Colorado, and owned and operated by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, will cease coal mining and begin reclamation activities. To help employees with the transition, Tri-State negotiated a memorandum of understanding with representatives and members of the United Mine Workers of America that will be in place during the reclamation process and the retirement of the mine.
“For many years, our employees have done outstanding work to safely mine and steward the land,” said Tri-State CEO Mike McInnes. “We’ve addressed key issues and reached a fair agreement that provides continuity for employees wishing to work during the reclamation process, while being flexible to accommodate the needs of those seeking other opportunities.”
The mine currently employs 23 people. Staffing levels are subject to fluctuation depending on reclamation activities and retirements of employees.
The decision to end mining operations was driven by several factors, including the amount of coal currently available at Nucla Station and the cost of producing additional coal at New Horizon Mine compared to other lower-cost options for coal supply in the region. Tri-State could bring in coal from other sources to maintain the fuel supply, as needed. Nucla Station will remain in operation in a “ready to run” status.
Tri-State has also informed the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety of its intentions to end mining operations and initiate reclamation activities. A reclamation plan will guide initial reclamation activities over the next few years; however complete reclamation and release of bonds could take 10-15 years.
With the announcement that coal production at the mine will end, local communities may have the opportunity to qualify for grant funding to assist with the transition. Tri-State will continue to work with affected communities to support their needs.
In September 2016, Tri-State announced the mine and the 100-megawatt Nucla Station, which received coal from the mine, would be retired as part of an agreement with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, WildEarth Guardians and the National Parks Conservation Association to propose revisions to the Colorado Visibility and Regional Haze State Implementation Plan (SIP). Nucla Station will be retired by December 31, 2022.