Coal Mines in Rock Springs, WY

By Megan Pacella on May 19, 2011 at 2:34 pm EST
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Together with other electric generating resources, the Jim Bridger Power Plant and Jim Bridger Coal Mine help provide power to more than a million customers in Wyoming and other western states. The power plant and mine are both jointly owned by PacifiCorp (which serves Wyoming customers as Rocky Mountain Power) and Idaho Power Corp.

Operating since the 1970s, the Jim Bridger Power Plant employs about 340 people, while the Jim Bridger Coal Mine employs more than 440. In recent years, Bridger Coal Company adopted new underground operations in addition to surface mining. Full-scale underground mining operations began at the Jim Bridger Mine in March 2007, using state-of-the-art longwall mining technology that will help extend the life of the mine by approximately 20 years.

Longwall mining uses self-advancing hydraulic roof supports, an automated coal shearing machine and an armored conveyor system. The shearing machine works under the movable roof supports, cutting the coal, which then drops onto the conveyor, which transports it from the mine.

“The transition to a multifaceted operation – including underground, surface and highwall mining techniques – will ensure a stable, economic fuel source for the adjacent Jim Bridger Power Plant for many years to come,” said Pat Akers, Bridger Coal Company’s general manager.

Jim Bridger Power Plant and Coal Mine Gets Greener

PacifiCorp is at the midpoint in its ten-year comprehensive air initiative to reduce emissions at coal-fueled power plants. By the end of 2014, the company anticipates that it will have retrofitted 16 units with emission controls that include new low-nitrogen oxide burners, new or retrofitted sulfur dioxide scrubbers and/or replacement of electrostatic precipitators with fabric filter bag houses to capture particulate matter.

What exactly does that mean? Basically, when completed, the emission reduction plan is expected to reduce sulfur dioxide emissions by approximately 60 percent and nitrogen oxides by approximately 40 percent from pre-2005 levels.

The projects will ensure compliance with the first phase of the 1999 Clean Air Act regional haze rules, which were developed to achieve “natural visibility” in national parks and wilderness areas by 2064. The retrofits also support Rocky Mountain Power and PacifiCorp’s own environmental commitment to develop sustainable operations and implement environmental projects designed to leave a clean, healthy environment for future generations.

According to Bob Arambel, PacifiCorp’s managing director at the Jim Bridger power plant, new low-NOX burners have been installed on all four units, and scrubber upgrades have been completed on three of the units – with the final scrubber upgrade scheduled for 2011.

Black Butte Coal Company

Located nearby, the Black Butte Coal Company operates one of the largest surface mines in the nation, covering 70 square miles and producing more than three million tons of coal each year in Point of Rocks. The mine has sold more than 110 million tons of coal to the north central Rocky Mountain market. Facilities consist of a coal plant, laboratory, water treatment plant, warehouse, shop, changehouse and office. The company has a reclamation effort, which strives to preserve and protect the natural ecological balance of the environment.

For more information about Rocky Mountain Power, visit www.rockymountainpower.net or call toll free at (888) 221-7070. Contact the Black Butte Coal Company by calling (307) 382-6200.

Find out more about the growing energy industry in Rock Springs, WY.

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The fishing here is absolutely phenomenal. We’ve got lake trout, brown trout, rainbow trout, all sorts of fish. It is absolutely a fisherman’s paradise.

Dave Hanks, Executive Director, Rock Springs Chamber of Commerce