Utah operator tunneling way to coal seam

Utah operator tunneling way to coal seam

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- A Utah coal operator is tunneling into a cliff face to access rich coal seams at Lila Canyon in the Book Cliffs region.

Also in the same coal belt, UtahAmerican Energy Inc., a subsidiary of Ohio-based Murray Energy Corp., is seeking a federal lease to expand operations at the Aberdeen mine, 7 miles north of Price.

The Bureau of Land Management says it's calculating the value of the 42.2 million tons of coal UtahAmerican wants to buy.

The Lila Canyon operation is unusual. From the base of the Book Cliffs, the company is blasting a set of uphill tunnels to reach a 13-foot-thick coal seam inside the mountain.

The tunneling has advanced nearly halfway to the coal seam 1,200 feet away.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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