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A unit of U.S. coal mining company Massey Energy Co. (MEE) has received a permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers to begin operating in West Virginia, the company said Tuesday.
The permit will allow Richmond, Va.-based Massey's Highland Mining Co. subsidiary to begin operation of the Reylas Surface Mine in Logan County, W.Va., which is expected to produce about one million tons of coal per year over six years. It will employ 103 people.
Highland first applied for the Corps permit in August 2007. It received a surface mining permit from the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection in 2008.
The move to open the mine comes as Massey--which agreed in January to sell itself to Alpha Natural Resources Inc. (ANR) in a deal valued at $7.1 billion--continues to deal with the repercussions of an April explosion at its Upper Big Branch mine in Montcoal, W.Va., that killed 29 miners.
The Justice Department has been conducting a criminal investigation while federal and state safety officials investigate the cause of the accident.
The chief of security at the mine was recently charged with lying to investigators and ordering the destruction of thousands of security-related documents.
-By Matt Whittaker, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2139; firstname.lastname@example.org