Murray Plans to Re-open Allison Mine,
Hire 400


By KATHRYN CLAYTON
Times Leader Staff Writer


ROBERT E. MURRAY, sole shareholder of Ohio Valley Coal, plans to re-open the old Allison mine and hire approximately 400 people.

The American Energy Corp., also owned by Murray, is advertising in area newspapers that it is a "new coal mining company" developing the Century underground long wall mine. According to the advertisements, the mine has a projected life of 30 years.

American Energy Corp. President Art Hile said the Century mine will begin operations by May. They will begin by using continuous miner units, and then progress to a longwall operation, said Hile. He noted that the mine is expected to produce 5 million tons of coal by the end of 2002 and at expected levels of production will employ over 400 people.

Hile said the mine will provide, "long-term employment opportunities to its employees as well as great economic benefit to Southeastern Ohio."

"It is our intention to operate the most productive and safest underground mining operation in the United States," he continued.

A permit has not yet been granted to the American Energy Corp. for the operation. According to Russ Gibson of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Mineral Resources Management, formerly the Division of Mines and Reclamation, a permit for the Century mine is pending for the mining company, BENNOC, Inc. of Morristown. The Century mine is the same as the old Allison mine and is the D-O425 permit area, according to BENNOC's permit application.

The portal for the Allison mine was located near Beallsville. The mine itself is beneath portions of both Belmont and Monroe counties.

"It is our understanding that the American Energy Corp. will operate that mine," said Gibson.

He added that if the American Energy Corp. is really the company intending to mine the D-O425 permit area, it is close to the time proper paper work must be filled out to that effect.

Hile declined comment on the permit. Larry Conway with BENNOC, Inc. also declined comment.

American Energy Corp. has offices in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, and Avonmore, Pa.

The D-O425 permit area includes the Raven Rocks community, which is described as "a renewable energy technology, environmental education and ecological preservation laboratory" by Kathy Rossmann, environmental scientist with ODNR. The presence of the community caused ODNR to ask for unusual revisions to the mining permit application in February of last year.

At the time Rossmann wrote, "the Locust Hill Underground Building, the Sidwell Underground House, the wind generator and geothermal wells located on the Raven Rocks Inc. property are not typical of structures commonly subsided by longwall mining."

Rossmann asked BENNOC to address the anticipated effects of planned subsidence on these structures and also to address what measures will be taken to mitigate the effects of planned subsidence on them. The revisions are now under review by ODNR.

Murray explained the relationship between the American Energy Corp., Ohio Valley Coal and the Consolidated Land Co., another Murray owned entity, in sworn testimony given Dec. 13, 2000; before the Ohio Reclamation Commission. Murray's testimony was taken during a hearing when a ruling exempting Ohio Valley Coal from a longwall mining ban under Dysart Woods was being appealed by several parties.

Murray stated, "You see, I own this whole thing. No matter what car you drive or which truck in your garage, you've got a stall you generally put your truck in and a stall you generally put your car in. I own the American Energy Co. I own the Ohio Valley Coal Co. I own the Consolidated Land Co. I have reasons for parking this truck in that stall and that car in that stall and that's what I've done here by parking the coal reserves in Consolidated Land Co; not American Energy or Ohio Valley Coal. It's all really one."

In the same testimony, Murray stated, "The Ohio Valley Coal Co. Powhatan No.6 mine is a union mine. We don't want the coal lands in Ohio Valley Coal that we're developing for Century Mine of American Energy Corp. because it's going to be a non-union. mine. And I have other financing reasons, so we lease the coal lands out of Consolidated Land Co. to American Energy or Ohio Valley Coal, wherever I want to. Or I can do away with Consolidated Land in an instant and put all the reserves one place or another. It's still Robert E. Murray on all this."

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