Luminant CAP group gets mining lesson, facility update

Meeting for the first time since April, the Luminant Community Advisory Panel (LCAP) gathered in Giddings in September for a Mining 101 lesson in addition to the usual updates on the Sandow Power Plant and Three Oaks Mine.

Mining 101 was presented by Daniel Munoz, now the Mine Engineer at Kosse Mine, who had spoken last fall to members who traveled to Fairfield to look at reclamation at the Big Brown site. Munoz described the mining cycle, from exploration to reclamation. With presentation, diagrams and photographs, he showed the steps in the mining cycle: exploration, planning, permitting, pre-stripping, dragline, lignite removal and reclamation.

Reclamation begins in a pit as soon as coal removal is complete. The pit is backfilled and suitable material placed on top. The surface is contoured to prevent erosion. Temporary groundcover is planted until the weather cools enough to fulfill the planting plan laid out in the mine permit. The permit requires a bond to assure that reclamation will be completed even if a company is no longer in business.

Once reclamation has been established and maintained, the company applies to be released from the bond. Luminant makes these requests section by section. It will be several more years before reclamat ion at Three Oaks reaches that stage. At other sites, Luminant has sold its reclaimed land.

The agenda a lso included updates on mining and power plant operations. Responding to questions, Luminant’s Generation Director, Steve Parker, said the two Sandow power plant units ran well and at capacity during this summer’s heat. On the days when Texans were asked to cut back on power usage, the draglines were shut down to conserve electricity.

Don Montgomery shared information from a news release issued the day of the meeting regarding Luminant’s opposition to the EPA Cross-State Air Pollution rules. He said that Sandow Unit 5 already meets the requirements, and Unit 4 will do so after upgrades are completed. Thus Luminant will continue to operate the Sandow units.

Visitors are welcome at LCAP meetings. The group meets again at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 14 at the Three Oaks Mine office in Lexington. For more information, contact LCAP facilitator Diane Sheridan at 800-484-9212 ext. 4127. Local residents may also contact LCAP member Bob Wilson at 512-446-5700 or John Hughes at 512-947-3857

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