Some good news came to Carbon County residents Friday with Sunnyside Reclamation and Salvage Co. announcing intentions to reopen operations within a month.
Sunnyside Reclamation, a subsidiary of Colorado Coal and Coke, appears to be the successful bidder over BP Minerals for the bankrupt Kaiser Coal Co. mine."It is not automatic and there are many details to be worked out, but I am optimistic," Ken Ball, SRS president, said Friday after a hearing in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Denver.
The company's total bid was not disclosed.
"We hope to be able to employ between 20 and 25 salaried personnel and as many as 80 miners," Ball said. "We hope to soon begin cleanup work, ventilation and roof control. Our goal is to begin cutting coal by March 6. But we will have to begin looking for new coal markets."
The mine's closure put 189 hourly and 45 salaried employees out of work.
Sunnyside Reclamation intends to proceed as if the bid is successful and will begin recalling workers within the next few weeks, Ball said.
The bid includes purchase of Sunnyside No. 1 and No. 3 mines, the north lease and some undisturbed properties.
The company agreed to assume $3.3 million in state reclamation claims, $1.1 million in county and state back taxes and black lung taxes, $100,000 in mechanics' liens for work and some cash payments to Kaiser Coal.
The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration, citing excessive methane gas levels, closed the mine in February 1988. MSHA's order was lifted May 5, but financial problems, including meeting state reclamation requirements, kept the mine shut.