The North Dakota Public Service Commission (PSC) in the US has approved an addition of 352 acres to the Coyote Creek Mining area in Mercer county.

The additional acres will be used to build a coal haul road that will extend from the existing permit area to the Coyote Power Station, as well as for coal handling facilities.

Coal removal and haul road use is expected to continue until 2040, while coal production in 2016 is projected to be 1.7 million tonnes (Mt) and 2.5Mt a year.

"It means the long-term continuation of dependable and affordable power from the Coyote Power Plant."

Prior to approval, PSC completed all required reviews to make sure that the required information was in place and the mining and reclamation plans are according to the applicable requirements.

Commissioner Randy Christmann who holds the coal mining portfolio said: "This permit for the Coyote Creek Mine, along with the approval of Mercer County and land acquisition from landowners, opens the next chapter in lignite mining in western North Dakota."

"For consumers, it means the long-term continuation of dependable and affordable power from the Coyote Power Plant."

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Earlier, the commission received requests for an informal conference on the application with regard to worries about air quality and dust emissions from the proposed facilities.

According to the Hearing Officer, issues relating to air quality raised during the informal conference are outside the commission’s jurisdiction.

In addition, the officer ruled that the application for the permit revision satisfies all permit revision standards according to the reclamation laws and rules.

Once mining has been competed, the planned haul road and other support facilities will be reclaimed.