SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Murray Energy Corp. remains adamant in its plans not to reopen the Utah coal mine where six miners and three rescuers were killed in 2007.
A report this weekend said Murray Energy Corp. was interested in reopening the Crandall Canyon Mine at an yet undetermined time. The report came from the Bureau of Land Management.
Murray?Energy Corp. officials quickly responded this weekend.
In an email to The Times Leader late Saturday night, company officials reaffirmed its plans to keep the Crandall Canyon Mine closed.
"UtahAmerican has no plans whatsoever to re-open the mine, nor is it even under the slightest consideration. We are currently operating the West Ridge and Lila Canyon Mines, which provides hundreds of high paying jobs to its valued employees, and coal production from these mines is sufficient to service our customers," the e-mail to the Times Leader stated. "The coal reserves in the area of Crandall Canyon and elsewhere are our assets, and we are simply doing what is required by law to maintain control of our assets nothing more, nothing less."
Roger Bankert, a supervisor with the BLM's Division of Lands and Minerals, said that Murray Energy has maintained a lease at the mine and expressed an interest in mining there again in the future.
Murray Energy Vice President Rob Murray said Saturday that there are "no plans whatsoever to reopen the mine, nor is it even under the slightest consideration."
Today marks the fifth anniversary of the collapse at the underground mine that killed six miners. It was so powerful that it initially registered as a magnitude 3.9 earthquake. Another cave-in 10 days later killed three members of a rescue team.
The operation was called off after drilling into the mountain found no sign of the trapped men. Their bodies remain deep in the mine's catacombs.
Daron Haddock, a manager with the Utah Division of Oil, Gas and Mining, said the mine's reopening would be controversial because "basically it's a grave" for the deceased miners and rescuers.
The mine is not economically feasible right now because of falling coal prices, he said, and it could only be reopened after costly work.
Murray Energy essentially has 20 years from the time of the closure to either act on the lease or relinquish it.
If the lease is relinquished and not sold, the state is potentially interested in reclaiming the site, Haddock said.
The lease is for 3,517 acres, and the company must pay fees to maintain it without active drilling.
"The coal reserves in the area of Crandall Canyon and elsewhere are our assets, and we are simply doing what required by law to maintain control of our assets - nothing more, nothing less," Murray wrote by email Saturday.