The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality awarded Ramaco Carbon approval to mine its private coal/carbon ore assets at the Brook mine, located in a traditional mining area outside Sheridan. This will create Wyoming’s first new mine in almost four decades. The purpose of the mine is to develop alternative uses for coal beyond burning it, and potentially revitalizing a key facet of both the state and the national economy, according to Ramaco Carbon.

This also constitutes a permit of one of the largest private coal/carbon ore reserves in the country. The company said pre-mine development work would begin shortly, and it intends to employ local Wyoming miners affected by the industry’s downturn. The initial opening of the mine is anticipated to employ 30 to 40 direct mining jobs.

“By awarding this permit, the state has acknowledged our efforts to be good stewards of this area’s high quality of life and environment,” Chairman and CEO Randall Atkins said. “It has also recognized our investment in the Sheridan area since 2011 and in the future of this state.”

The privately funded Brook mine will provide carbon resources for Ramaco’s research and manufacturing efforts, as part of the nation’s first vertically integrated carbon tech platform. This platform also includes the iCAM (Innovation Carbon Advanced Material Center) and research park campus now in final stages of construction, as well as the future iPark mine-mouth coal to product manufacturing facilities. The iCAM facility will house carbon research for advanced carbon products and materials, such as carbon fiber, carbon building products and graphene.

Ramaco Carbon is engaged in this work through a recently announced partnership with Oak Ridge National Energy Laboratory, as well as ongoing work with the National Energy Technology Laboratory.

The company is currently involved in five research grants with the U.S. Department of Energy on various coal-to-product applications.

“Wyoming produces more coal than any state in the country, and this project potentially heralds a true sea-change in direction for the industry,” Atkins said. “Through the research and manufacturing efforts of our coalition of partners, this mine can help build a new Carbon Valley in the Powder River basin region, and create high-value, high-tech, environmental uses for coal, America’s largest natural resource.”