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Bluestone sues other coal company alleging drilling caused $80M in damages

Bluestone CoalCorp. is suing PinnacleMining Co. LLC and TargetDrilling Inc. over a claim its borehole drilling activities causeddamages totaling $80 million or more.

Bluestone alleged in a July 7 filing in the U.S. DistrictCourt for the Southern District of West Virginia that its Wyoming County,W.Va., mine was ruined by flooding due to drilling activities. Pinnacle andTarget drilled a vertical borehole shaft through a void in an inactive miningsection of Bluestone's Mine No. 65 to install a dewatering system.

The complaint alleges the drillers deviated from itsoriginal plan during development of the borehole and penetrated an undergroundaquifer. Because the mine was sealed, Bluestone was not immediately aware waterwas inundating the mine and did not discover flooding until March 2015.

Efforts to pump and dewater the flooded mine areas were noteffective.

"As a direct and proximate result of these conditions,plaintiffs were forced to abandon all underground mining equipment, materialsand structures located in the mine at the time of the commencement of theflooding and all of these items have been lost," the filing said. "Asa direct proximate result of the flooding, plaintiffs' unmined and unrecoveredcoal reserves accessible through the Double-Bonus Mine No. 65 have beensterilized (permanently lost)."

Bluestone said it was only able to discover the details ofthe drilling activities and the scope of deviation from the original drillingplan after a temporary injunction was filed in April 2015. The complaintalleges counts of negligence and trespass and seeks punitive damages forwillful, wanton or reckless conduct.