The window of Ramaco’s Sheridan office suite. "We continue to strongly believe in all aspects of this project and what it can do for economic enhancement and job opportunities in Sheridan Count," CEO Randall Atkins said on news that a permit for the company's proposed Brook mine was rejected. (Andrew Graham/WyoFile)

Wyoming regulators rejected a permit application for what could become the leading coal state’s first new mine in decades.

The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality this week reversed its previous decision to approve the application filed by Ramaco Resources Inc. for the Brook mine near Sheridan.

The agency based its decision to require additional information on the conclusions reached by the Wyoming Environmental Quality Council in August.

Kentucky-based Ramaco has big plans for the Brook mine to supply coal for a proposed research park specializing in turning coal into carbon fiber for manufacturing cars (Greenwire, July 31).

But the mine permit was challenged by landowners and rival coal company Lighthouse Resources Inc.’s Big Horn Coal Co., which owns the surface rights above the proposed site.

After a lengthy review, the council identified “procedural and substantive deficiencies” with the permit application when it came to impacts like hydrology, subsidence and blasting. Based on that evidence, Wyoming DEQ denied the permit, ordering Ramaco to fix the issues raised.

“Obviously there is still a door open for [Ramaco] to review these deficiencies, but that is up to them,” agency spokesman Keith Guille told the Casper Star-Tribune. “They can resubmit it, and we have to review that and make sure that it meets, for us, completion.”

Ramaco CEO Randall Atkins said the company was disappointed but plans to get to work quickly to fix those issues.

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“We continue to strongly believe in all aspects of this project and what it can do for economic enhancement and job opportunities in Sheridan County, the state of Wyoming, and for the future of energy and manufacturing technology that can be developed within the coal industry,” he said, “while protecting Wyoming’s land, water and air resources.”

Reprinted from E&E News PM with permission from E&E News. Copyright 2017. E&E provides essential news for energy and environment professionals at

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  1. The permitting loop continues! Ramaco was going to reinvent how carbon fiber is made with coal from this small mine. The mining process is also much improved over the massive pits with the largest draglines in the world. The highwall mining method would result in much smaller surface impact per unit of coal recovered.

    This is a big blow to the Governor’s ENDOW program, this is exactly the type of R & D Wyoming needs to change the use and valuation of coal extracted in Wyoming, “don’t burn it make cars out of it!”!