New mine planned in Webster County

New mine planned in Webster County

A veteran of the Western Kentucky coal industry has announced plans to open a mine in Webster County in the coming years.

Ron Siler of Newburgh released a statement that his company, Henderson-based Pact Resources LLC, is seeking permits for an underground mine near Sebree that could someday employ 120 to 140 miners.

Annual wages are projected to average more than $60,000.

Pact Resources company hopes to begin construction in 12 to 14 months, with initial coal production expected to begin in 2009, according to a news release distributed Thursday by the Northwestern Kentucky Forward regional economic development organization.

“Our mission is to be a competitive producer and supplier of Western Kentucky coal while providing safe, secure jobs and maintaining a good-neighbor standard within the community,” Siler said in a prepared statement.

His company controls 90 million tons of coal through a combination of leases, options and direct ownership.

The coal includes some of the former Panama Mine reserves, according to Kevin Sheilley, president and CEO of Northwest Kentucky Forward.

That mine, operated by Peabody Coal in the 1970s, closed because of adverse mining conditions. But Sheilley said he was told that improved mining technology will enable a new mine to operate “in a cost-effective manner.”

“This mine is conservatively projected to produce 1.5 million tons of coal each year with a projected mine life expectancy of 20 to 25 years,” according to the news release. “The company has committed sales for 60 percent of anticipated production.”

The customers for that fuel weren’t identified, although Sheilley said the mine will serve the electric utility industry.

“Additionally, a mine of this magnitude will create hundreds of spin-off jobs in the region,” the news release said.

Webster County Judge-executive Jim Townsend applauded the news. “We are always excited when new jobs come to Webster County, but especially so when the company is based in our region,” he said in a statement.

Pact Resources’ partners have more than 60 years of combined experience in the energy industry, according to the release.

Siler, a former chairman and president of the Western Kentucky Coal Association, worked for Peabody Coal and Mapco, then later served as president of the former Costain Coal Inc. in Webster County.

In more recent years he operated Schoate Mining Co.’s Hall’s Creek and Briar Hill surface mines in Muhlenberg County, but evidently is no longer associated with that company. The state Office of Mine Safety and Licensing now lists William B. Wilson as the operator of the Schoate mine.

He couldn’t be reached for comment Thursday.

Siler formed Pact Resources in 2003 with a partner, Gregory P. Cantrell of Georgetown, Ind., the former director of corporate fuels and byproducts for LG&E Energy Inc.

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