A Utah agency has covered the costs of coal mine reclamation at a shuttered facility after years of battles by selling off a condominium posted as collateral.
According to The Salt Lake Tribune, the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, or DOGM, said a condominium posted as collateral for a mine lease formerly owned by America West Resources Inc. subsidiary Hidden Splendor Resources has sold and should cover the costs of plugging the mine portal and returning 9.5 acres to a natural state.
Hidden Splendor lost its lease to mine the coal at the Horizon mine in Carbon County, Utah, in 2015 after it failed to pay royalties for production in 2012. America West filed for bankruptcy in 2013.
The Utah agency insisted that principal Alexander Walker III, an attorney in Salt Lake City, and his family reclaim the site and deal with the environmental violations, according to The Tribune. While a bond would normally cover reclamation costs if companies go bankrupt, the Walkers had posted a condominium in Salt Lake City as collateral. The Utah DOGM agreed to accept the condo this spring instead of reclamation money. The unit sold for $498,000, while the reclamation costs were estimated at $520,000.
The Horizon mine produced 210,096 tons of coal in 2012 and 370,150 tons in 2011, according to the U.S. Mine Safety and Health Administration.