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Cloud Peak Energy and the Crow Tribe sign exploration agreements for PRB coal

World Coal,

Cloud Peak Energy Inc., one of the largest US coal producers, and the Crow Tribe of Indians have signed the option and exploration agreements covering an estimated 1.4 billion short t of in-place coal in the northern Powder River Basin (NPRB). The signing follows the approval of the agreements by the Crow Tribal Legislature earlier this month. The agreements now go to the US Department of the Interior (DoI) for final review, with approval requested within 180 days. If approved, the agreements could be worth up to US$ 10 million to the Crow Tribe over a period of 5 years.

Part of a larger mining complex

The option and exploration agreements provide for exploration and exclusive options to lease three separate coal deposits on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana over an initial 5 year period, with two extension periods through to 2035 if certain conditions are met. The three deposits are in the vicinity of Cloud Peak Energy’s Spring Creek mine and Youngs Creek project in Montana and Wyoming, respectively, and would potentially be developed as part of a larger mining complex with these properties.

Powder River Basin export potential

“Cloud Peak Energy is pleased to have signed the agreements with the Crow Tribe and is hopeful that DoI approval will follow in good order. The exploration and other work to get to a decision on exercising an option(s) and, ultimately to production, is a multi-year process. Ideally, the development of the Crow Tribe coal resources and our larger Spring Creek complex would coincide with the development of new West Coast export terminal capacity. We also see the potential to expand NPRB domestic customers with high Btu, lower sodium content coal from certain Crow Tribe coal deposits,” said Colin Marshall, Cloud Peak Energy’s president and CEO. “We are embarking on what we see as a long-term partnership with the Crow Tribe that will hopefully provide revenue and jobs and economic development on the reservation.” 

Written by Jonathan Rowland.

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