Coal Basin land deal finalized |

Coal Basin land deal finalized

Jeremy Heiman

Pitkin County has formalized an agreement that will eventually bring the last remaining parcel at the site of a closed coal mine near Redstone into public ownership.

The county commissioners, Mid-Continent Resources, Mid-Con Realty and Colorado’s Division of Minerals and Geology have all approved the agreement. The commissioners gave their formal approval yesterday.

Mid-Continent, bankrupt since 1992, had previously refused to cooperate with a plan to convey the last of its land to the U.S. Forest Service because Mid-Continent officials disagreed with the way the Division of Minerals and Geology was handling reclamation of the defunct mine.

The agreement puts the last 265 acres of Mid-Continent’s Coal Basin mine site in the care of Western Land Group, which has the right to arrange the sale of the land. The parcel, or parts of it, can be sold exclusively to parties arranging land swaps with the Forest Service, to be traded to the Forest Service for parcels elsewhere.

The agreement involves a parcel that Mid-Continent transferred to a subsidiary real estate company, Midcon Realty LLC, and threatened to keep or sell on the open market. It holds some remaining mine improvements.

Those improvements include a building called the Lamphouse, formerly used by miners as a place for changing clothes and showering, named because that was where miners lit their headlamps to go underground.

At the time of Mid-Continent’s bankruptcy, the Forest Service set out with the goal of acquiring all of the properties controlled by the mining company, and has succeeded in making trades for almost 6,000 acres surrounding the mine site.

Mid-Continent was required to put up cash for the reclamation of the site as a provision of its bankruptcy settlement, but Robert Delaney, part owner and chief executive of Mid-Continent, balked at paying for the Division of Minerals and Geology’s attempts to revegetate steep slopes that resulted from road cuts.

The deal is contingent on an agreement between the parties on how the reclamation is done.

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