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Hallador/Sunrise apparently disinterested in developing Bulldog coal mine in Illinois: official

Highlights

Satisfied with expanded Oaktown underground mine

Bulldog permit could be issued for $1 million

Louisville, Kentucky — Hallador Energy's Sunrise Coal subsidiary apparently has pushed to the side any short-term plans to construct its long-proposed Bulldog underground mine in Vermilion County, Illinois, according to a state official.

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Art Rice, a veteran official at the Illinois Department of Natural Resources' Office of Mines and Minerals office in Benton, told S&P Global Platts in an interview this week that Sunrise officials have been incommunicado recently when state representatives have attempted to contact them about the company's outstanding Bulldog permit application.

"They're not answering our phone calls," he said.

Rice surmised Sunrise may be satisfied for now with its expanded Oaktown underground mine in Knox County, Indiana, that is able to tunnel under the Wabash River and access company-owned coal reserves in Illinois.

Jim Schafer, a permitting officer for the Office of Mines and Minerals, has said Sunrise could be issued the Bulldog permit by paying less than $1 million in fees and reclamation bonds with the state.

Hallador/Sunrise officials could not be reached for comment Friday.

They initially unveiled the project in 2012 when Sunrise submitted an application for a state permit. The application was not deemed complete by the state until 2014.

At the time, Bulldog was touted as a potential 3 million st/year continuous miner operation that would employ several hundred people.

Since then, however, Hallador/Sunrise have focused on developing the Princeton Loop truck-to-rail loading facility, which is expected to ship 625,000 st during the latter half of 2018, and in expanding Oaktown's reach into Illinois.

Sunrise recently resumed production at its once-flagship Carlisle underground mine in Sullivan County, Indiana.

--Olivia Kalb, olivia.kalb@spglobal.com

--Bob Matyi, newsdesk@spglobal.com

--Edited by Richard Rubin, newsdesk@spglobal.com