Oxbow was the sole bidder at the auction. The BLM has estimated the leased coal could produce $6.3 million in royalties, half of which the state of Colorado would receive. The estimated 4 million tons of coal the lease should yield will allow Oxbow to extend the life of Elk Creek mine by a year. The BLM says the mine employs 250 to 335 people. Going forward, Oxbow Mining is looking to explore the federal Oak Mesa coal reserve nearby as it looks at a mine to replace Elk Creek when it runs out of coal in a few years.