Buckeye Mining gets grant for coal transloading facility

Buckeye Mining gets grant for coal transloading facility

Buckeye Industrial Mining received a $200,000 state grant to help with a $15 million project that is expected to benefit from Baard Energy’s proposed $5 billion coal-to-fuel conversion plant.

The Ohio Rail Development Commission this week awarded Buckeye Industrial a $200,000 grant the company will use as part of its plans to create a facility for bringing in coal, some of which can be used to service Baard’s needs.

The coal transloading facility is to be located on 18 acres of Columbiana County Port Authority property being leased by Buckeye Industrial. The property is located in the Port Authority’s riverfront industrial park in Wellsville. Baard plans to build its coal conversion plant across state Route 7 from the industrial park on 357 acres of Port Authority land.

Port Authority Chief Executive Officer Tracy Drake said Buckeye Industrial entered into the lease in the early 2000s for the purpose of having a staging area from where it could collect and ship coal by truck, railroad and barge.

“They started this project before Baard was even on the books,” Drake said. “The Baard project came on after the fact.”

One of the reasons Baard chose the site was because of Buckeye Industrial’s plans, which could help provide its proposed Ohio River Clean Fuels project with some of the estimated 5.5 million tons of coal to be converted into 11 million barrels of liquid fuel for use mostly by the U.S. military.

Buckeye Industrial’s headquarters is in the county and currently operates surface and underground mines in Columbiana, Carroll, Jefferson and Stark counties. Its parent company — Evergreen Energy Inc. of Denver —could not be reached for comment, but Drake said the company mines low-sulfur coal in Wyoming and is an industry leader in cleaner-coal technology. He said Buckeye Industrial’s transload facility is part of Evergreen’s plans to bring blended, cleaner coal to this part of the country.

The company’s transloading facility is expected to create 115 jobs on site and another 40 coal mining jobs at local mines. The facility is expected to handle 35,000 carloads of coal annually.

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