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Southern Colo. Coal Mine Could Reopen

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The coal mine west of Trinidad, Colo., that earlier this year employed more than 300 people — including several workers from Colfax County, N.M. — could reopen early next year if company plans pan out, The Raton Range reported.

“Everything is right to reopen,” Dave Stone, chief operating officer of the New Elk Coal Mine in Weston, Colo., told The Range.

Stone has been working with Toronto-based mine owner Cline Mining Corporation for the past four months on plans for reopening the mine and rehiring employees, the paper reported.

There are four interested buyers for the metallurgical coal that New Elk produces, and based on those tentative contracts, the mine could reopen in the first quarter of 2013, Stone told The Range.

At its peak in early May, New Elk employed 330 people, and currently 22 people, including one worker from Colfax County, are at the site, according to The Range.

The first layoffs of 75 workers occurred on May 18, and another 200 were laid off on July 13, the paper reported.

Stone said if market conditions are right, the mine could employ up to 700 workers, The Range said.

The New Elk Mine originally opened in 1951 by the CF&I Steel Company to provide metallurgical coking coal for the company’s blast furnace iron and steel production in Pueblo, Colo., according to The Range. It was sold to Wyoming Fuels, which operated the mine until 1989 and later was bought by Cline Mining which produces coal in Colorado, iron ore in Madagascar and gold in northern Ontario.

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