Don’t Let It All Go Out Of State
Millions of Tons of Lignite to Power Kemper Plant
Sept. 12, 2011, 3 p.m. CDT Associated Press
JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Once Mississippi Power Co.’s generating plant in Kemper County comes online, it will be supported by a large — and eventually, the largest — coal mining operation in the state.
Mississippi Power president/CEO Ed Day says there’s enough lignite coal in east Mississippi to keep the plant running for decades.
Liberty Fuels Co. LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of North American Coal Corp. of Bismarck, N.D., will mine the lignite for Mississippi Power.
What a shame a good Mississippi business could not grab this contract. I hope credible Mississippi businesses will attend the Oct 18 Meeting and get their portion of the Kemper Lignite Gold Rush.
The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality will hold a public hearing in DeKalb on Oct. 18 on Liberty Fuels’ permit application.
MDEQ officials said as of Monday they have not received any filings by opponents to the mine. However, they said the opponents may be waiting until the public hearing to speak up. The public comment period began when the public notice began running in newspapers about two weeks and will continue until Oct. 21, the Friday after the public hearing.
The application calls for Liberty Fuels to mine 2 million tons of lignite per year during the first five-year permit. Thereafter, it will mine 4.1 million tons per year through 2052.
“We are pleased and excited about expanding our operations in Mississippi, as it is a great state to do business,” said Tres Tipton, vice president of operations for North American Coal in Mississippi and Louisiana.
The application provides that mining will be conducted on 31,000 acres over 40 years and will include 2,229 acres within the five-year permit area.
The Kemper County operation eventually will dwarf North American Coal’s other Mississippi lignite mining operation in Choctaw County. It was permitted in 1998 and the first coal was mined in late 1999. The Choctaw power plant began operation in 2002 and supplies power to the Tennessee Valley Authority.
“It was driven by TVA needing more electricity. They have a 30-year contract to buy all of the power produced,” said Stan Thieling, with MDEQ’s Office of Geology.
He said the Choctaw County operation mines 5,900 acres and produces about 3.5 million tons per year.
Kemper County, he said, “will be the biggest but it will take a few years.”
That’s of no matter to Mississippi Power’s Day.
“The fuel supply from Kemper will be stable and predictable over a 40-year period,” Day said. “We’ll burn four millions tons if lignite a year at full operation. That’s 160 million tons over 40 years. There are four billion tons of lignite in Mississippi. We’re not going to run out of lignite.”
The fuel supply may be stable but the “demonstration” technology may run into snags closing the entire plant down for costly repairs and parts. ( I read this happening to other plants) It is a logical expectation with brand new technology with limited small scale short duration testing . But you just keep shoveling the positive lignite energy vibes, Mr. Day, because they will remember this article prediction when a filter system fails and everything is at a standstill But there will be a continuous fuel supply.
Mississippi’s deposits of lignite run from the northern counties near Memphis, Tenn., halfway across the border with Tennessee. The deposit area stretches down and curves through the central Hill counties to north Meridian and into Alabama.
Sounds like there may be some transporting fees involved after all, along with some crossing state line taxes and fees.
“It would take a lot of mine to use that up,” said state geologist Michael Bograd.
Bograd and Thieling said there’s lignite in other parts of Mississippi — Natchez, for example — that is located too deep in the ground to be financially viable too mine.
The mine in Choctaw County is a surface mine, as will be the one in Kemper County.
Day said Mississippi Power has located its power plant on the lignite seam.
“We can physically go out and see the lignite and touch it,” Day said.
The 582-megawatt plant near the Liberty community will use a process that converts the lignite coal into a synthetic gas and generates electricity with fewer emissions than existing pulverized coal power plants. The plant is expected to be in operation in 2014.
The mine and plant will employ 300 people.
ONLY 300 PEOPLE?
Day said the plant helps Mississippi Power diversify it fuel portfolio. He said such diversification would be attractive to industrial prospects looking for stable energy costs and prices.
Thieling said Mississippi might have more mines in its future.
“North American Coal has got lots of ideas for Mississippi. We wouldn’t be surprised to see several more mines in the next decade or two,” he said.
Bograd said the mining industry is very heavily regulated. He said the requirements are voluminous and comprehensive and MDEQ is responsible for the state permits the mines and power plants must have.
Mississippi Power Co., http://www.mississippipower.com
North American Coal Corp., http://www.nacoal.com