Haddock said if the decision is ultimately made to mine again at Crandall Canyon, the cost to stabilize the mine would be high and the current low coal prices would be discouraging for any short-term mining efforts.
The company only has a few options for what it can do, Haddock said.
The options include actively mining on the property, continuing to pay advance royalties — for up to another 15 years — or relinquishing the lease.
If Murray Energy gave up its lease, Haddock said the state would potentially look toward reclamation – essentially returning the land to something approximating its pristine state.
“I would expect that Murray Energy is looking at all those options and seeing which is best for them,” said Mike Nelson, chair of the University of Utah department of mining engineering and associate director of the newly formed Center for Mining Safety and Health Excellence.
“The human issues are more difficult and I don’t know how they’d do it.”
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