The West Elk mine is operated by Mountain Coal Company and owned by Arch Coal. The West Elk mine is an underground longwall coal mine located 1 mile east of Somerset on the south side of State Highway 133, and approximately 10 miles east of the town of Paonia, in Gunnison County, Colorado. The West Elk Mine is permitted by the State to produce up to 8.5 million tons of coal and coal-refuse annually. The West Elk Mine has been in operation since 1982.
In 2005 Mountain Coal Company, LLC and the Western Slope Environmental Resource Council (now the Western Slope Conservation Center) jointly established the Conservation Assistance Program (CAP). The CAP program provides knowledgeable expertise at no charge to North Fork Valley landowners interested in placing conservation easements on their private property. To date, we have helped landowners complete over 75 conservation easements in the North Fork Valley, forever preserving over 10,000 acres for agriculture, wildlife habitat and scenic open space.
The lease modification would add approximately 1700 acres to existing leases mined by Mountain Coal Company (MCC) from their West Elk Mine near Somerset in Gunnison County, Colorado. Approximately 1,450 acres of the modification areas are within the West Elk Inventoried Roadless Area.
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