Officials said the development of the property “would not yield an acceptable rate of return” to justify the producer’s investment.

“This decision comes not because of the attack on the viability of protecting the environment during the process of mining at Shepherd’s Bend…the company would have mined the coal in an environmentally safe manner,” Drummond noted. “As stated, this was brought about by economic reasons, not environmental concerns.”

Shepherd’s Bend, which neighbors the Black Warrior River, was a point of contention by environmental groups who opposed the operation as well as its position near a drinking water source. It had been under development for several years by Drummond subsidiary Shepherd Bend LLC.

Drummond Coal’s currently active operations in the state include the Shoal Creek and Twin Pines complexes.