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Interior approves King II coal mine expansion in Colorado

GCC Energy LLC's request to expand its King II underground coal mine in Colorado has been approved by the federal Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement, a bureau of the U.S. Department of the Interior.

The approval allows GCC to expand the area of the lease by roughly 590 acres and will allow mining of approximately 2.7 million tons of federal coal and extend the mine's life for three to four years. The company originally sought to add 952 acres to the mining area.

Annual coal production at the mine, which employs 88 people, is expected to reach 1.1 million tons, on average, with a maximum production rate of 1.3 million tons per year.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation & Enforcement released the final environmental assessment for the proposal in December 2017 and found no significant impact associated with the expansion of the mine area.

The office holds a reclamation performance bond in the amount of $32,555 on the site, according to a March 28 release.