Officials for St. Louis-based FELP said July 20 that both Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Mines and Minerals (IDNR) have given the go-ahead to power restoration for a portion of the mine near Hillsboro, Montgomery County.
“This will allow Foresight personnel to evaluate the ventilation and longwall mining systems and to address any needed rehabilitation to the underground facilities,” it said.
The approval stemmed from a comprehensive evaluation of the operation and atmosphere by Foresight along with federal and state officials; FELP mine personnel will continue to monitor air quality in accordance with sampling protocols, which was outlined by the operator in its plan.
Foresight also noted that it is still working with both regulators with the goal of fully resuming normal mining operations at Deer Run.
The mine had been idled since elevated carbon monoxide levels were detected on March 26, and officials, as recently as last month, would not publicly confirm when a restart could be announced. Issues at Deer Run actually extend back about a year; in July 2014, a fire at the complex resulted in an estimated 500,000 tons of lost production.
Deer Run produced 5.5 million tons in 2014. Foresight also owns the Pond Creek and Sugar Camp longwall mines and the Shay No. 1 continuous miner operation, all in Illinois.