Bridger Coal Co. plans to permanently close Wyoming’s only underground coal mining operation as soon as November 19. Jon Brown, general manager-mines for Pacific Minerals Inc. (PMI), a subsidiary of PacifiCorp, issued a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notice to Rock Springs Mayor Tim Kaumo on September 3, saying nearly 100 miners will be affected by the decision.
The Jim Bridger longwall mine supplied roughly 2.4 million tons of bituminous coal to PacifiCorp’s Jim Bridger power plant. Already during 2021, the underground operations have produced 1.4 million tons, according to Mine Safety and Health Administration statistics. The plant also burned coal from Bridger’s surface operations (1.5 million tons in 2020 and 578,000 tons in H1 2021) along with coal from the Black Butte mine. Black Butte produces roughly 2.2 million tons per year.
In 2019, PacifiCorp, as part of an integrated resource plan, announced plans to close Unit No. 1 at the Jim Bridger power plant by the end of 2023 and Unit No. 2 by 2028. Units Nos. 3 and 4 were expected to operate through 2037.
Bridger Coal Co. is a joint venture between PMI and Idaho Power Co. PMI holds a two-thirds interest in the joint venture. PacifiCorp was bought by Warren Buffet’s MidAmerican Energy in March 2006.