The Dolet Hills Lignite Company held the grand opening of their new Oxbow Mine Facility on Friday at the mine site, located just off I-49 at exit 162. The facility is located at the end of Crow Lane near Pelican.
Governor John Bel Edwards was the featured speaker following a fish fry lunch. Mining operations had transitioned from the Dolet Hills Area east of I-49 to the Oxbow Mining Area, including the crossing of I-49 with two large draglines.
Here is more information on the mine, its history and operations from Southwestern Electric Power Company:
-Dolet Hills Power Station is co-owned by Cleco and SWEPCO; mining began in 1985, and plant went into commercial operation in 1986.
-Original mine reserves were good for 25-year life.
-Mine reserves expanded in 2009 when Oxbow Mine was purchased from North American Coal. SWEPCO operates both the Dolet Hills and Oxbow reserves under the Dolet Hills Lignite Company, LLC.
-During the summer of 2017 mining operations transitioned from the Dolet Hills Area (west of I-49) to Oxbow Mining Area (East of I-49) to continue economic value of both the power station and mining operations. This included $140 million of capital investment in the new mining area.
-Currently, Dolet Hills controls approximately 42,000 acres within the mine permit area.
-As part of the capital investment, a new five-mile conveyor belt system was constructed under I-49 to deliver lignite to the plant. The project also included working with the DOT to transport two large draglines, and associated mobile equipment, across I-49 in May and June 2017. Lastly, a new office/shop/warehouse facility was constructed to accommodate the entire workforce in one facility.
-Transition will extend life of mine for positive economic impact in the area: 284 FTEs with around 90 contractors on site daily
-About 15-20 percent of the lignite currently comes from Oxbow area by truck, and 75-80 percent from Dolet Hills by conveyor. After the transition, 100 percent, or approximately 3.4 million tons per year, will be conveyed to the plant.
-No new SWEPCO jobs will be created, but the construction aspects (belt line, office/shop facility, and bridge) brought in contractor jobs on a temporary basis with a peak of approximately 200 contract employees.
-SWEPCO and Cleco continue to study fueling options and lignite has been determined to be a fuel of choice