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Navajo Nation considers 2nd study on mine purchase

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FARMINGTON — The Navajo Nation is digging deeper into the likely costs and benefits of purchasing a coal mine from the Australian-based mining company of BHP Billiton.

The tribe announced in December it wants to buy the Navajo Mine, the sole provider of coal to the Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington.

The mine also is near Farmington. It has a work force of more than 400 jobs that is mostly Navajo.

The tribe paid several firms $750,000 for a report on some basic questions regarding the mine. The tribe now is considering commissioning a $2.3 million study.

The new study would help the tribe determine the cost of the mine, the profit margin and liabilities. It also would explore ways to resolve disputes.

Tribal lawmakers want it done by June 30.

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