Mining operations at Thermo Mine will resume this summer after being idle for three years, according to Luminant Mining.
Hopkins County Judge Robert Newsom met with Luminant representatives Thursday about the company's plans to resume mining in an area between the existing mine and FM 1870 south of Sulphur Springs.
Newsom said, based on the information he received, he is expecting mining operations to get under way very soon.
“They told me that in the next two weeks there will be people working on that site,” he said. “They are pursuing about 300 acres over, at least, one year plus. They don't know how long they will be doing it, but we know they are starting back mining again.”
The mining work will also include reclamation work in the mined area.
A Luminant spokesman issued a brief statement about plans for the resumption of mining operations.
“Luminant received a surface mining permit from the Railroad Commission of Texas in 2013 to expand its existing Thermo Mine. The company will begin initial construction this summer and operations will start this fall,” the spokesman said. “The expanded area is located on the north side of the existing Thermo Mine adjacent to FM 1870. The permitted area covers approximately 286 acres.”
Early Friday morning, the sounds of heavy equipment could again be heard coming from the area of the Thermo Mine.
Word of the resumption of mining operation came as a surprise to Hopkins County Chief Appraiser Cathy Singleton, who said, in 2011 when Luminant was shutting the mine down, it was valued for tax purposes at more than $16 million and the total loss of tax revenue to Hopkins County, Hopkins County Memorial Hospital District, Sulphur Springs Independent School District and Como-Pickton Consolidated Independent School District would be more than $330,000.
The information also came as a surprise to Sulphur Springs City Manager Marc Maxwell and to Roger Feagley at Sulphur Springs-Hopkins Economic Development Corporation.
Both called the resumption good economic news for the area.
In September 2011, Luminant announced the end of operations at Thermo Mine to comply with the Environmental Protection Agency's Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which caused the loss of a number jobs locally and up to about 500 overall.
At the Monticello Power Plant and supporting Thermo and Winfield mines in Northeast Texas, the following steps were outlined in 2011:
n/ Monticello Units 1 and 2 were idled. These units had a capacity of approximately 1,200 megawatts.
n/ Monticello Unit 3 was to cease using Texas lignite for fuel and begin to operate on 100 percent Powder River Basin coal.
n/ Thermo and Winfield mines would cease mining Texas lignite with the idling of Monticello Units 1 and 2 and the fuel switching at Monticello Unit 3, but Luminant said it would continue reclamation activities at those sites.
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