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Ramaco's planned Brook mine faces further permitting delays

Permitting for Ramaco Carbon, LLC's planned Brook mine faces further delays as a hearing process will continue later in the summer.

After a week of hearings on the proposed mine in the Tongue River Valley wrapped up May 26, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, announced they would reconvene in June with no definite date or location.

The Wyoming Environmental Quality Council, an independent entity that is part of DEQ, paused the permitting process after neighboring landowners and environmental groups raised concerns about the mine.

At the May hearings, Powder River Basin Resource Council member Gillian Malone testified that recreational opportunities along the Tongue River such as birding and hiking could be affected, according to a press release, and residents expressed worry about possible drinking-water pollution.

Jordan Sweeney, a representative from Lighthouse Resources Inc subsidiary Big Horn Coal Co., raised a number of issues with its rival Ramaco's plans, including safety concerns during blasting.

Kenneth Woodring, senior operations adviser at the Brook mine, testified that Rapowmaco intends to abide by all DEQ regulations regarding blasting and that he has no qualms about Ramaco's ability to operate safely. He said he has decades of experience running longwall and highwall mines, and the Brook project would be similar to eastern coal mining operations.

"There are people in very close proximity to the base of that mountain," he said of the eastern operations.

Woodring said he was not aware of any company plans for public outreach about the mine.