Peabody Energy is Already Established in Grants Area    

by Jim Maniaci Staff Writer 
Gallup Independent
15 October 2004

WINDOW ROCK Peabody Energy, the world's largest private coal company, already has a major presence in the Grants area with the Lee Ranch Mine, about 35 miles northwest of Grants.

The mine employs about 250 workers and injects more than $70 million a year into the local economy through wages, benefits, taxes and vendor contracts, according to the company's Flagstaff-based press officer, Beth Sutton.

Last year, Lee Ranch shipped 6.9 million tons of coal recovered from 26 seams that lace a 170-million ton reserve in the San Juan River Basin.

Peabody has coal supply contracts with Tucson Electric Power Company, Arizona Public Service Company, the Salt River Project, Western Fuels and the Arizona Electric Power Cooperative, which operate several generating stations in northeastern Arizona and serve millions of customers.

Sutton said Lee Ranch employees have reclaimed nearly 3,000 acres of mined land "to a condition that is typically 50 percent more productive for grazing than native range. Employees have been recognized for responsible stewardship and safe mining practices nearly a dozen times since the mining began. This includes an Excellence in Surface Mining Reclamation Award from the U.S. Interior Department."

The mine is named after Floyd Lee on land that's been worked for centuries, tracing its heritage back to a Spanish land grant in the 1700s.

Mining began at Lee Ranch in 1985, six years after the initial exploration and four years after the permit was obtained. Peabody obtained the mine in an exchange between Hanson Natural Resources Company and Santa Fe Pacific Corporation in 1993.

Since the 1970s, Peabody also has operated the Black Mesa and Kayenta Mines on the Navajo and Hopi reservations, with the first sending its coal through a 270-mile slurry pipe to Laughlin, Nev., for the Mohave Generating Station and the second shipping its coal via an 85-mile electric train to the Le Chee Chapter, on the south shore of Lake Powell east of Page, for the Navajo Generating Station.

The reservation mines are unionized; Lee Ranch is not unionized.


Reprinted as an historical reference document under the Fair Use doctrine of international copyright law.