Bilsland said the company hopes to submit a mine permit application to the Illinois Office of Mines and Minerals before the end of this year. Hallador does not expect to need a Section 404 Clean Water Act permit from the Army Corps of Engineers, he said.

How soon the new mine will be in production is uncertain. “It depends on how time consuming it is to get the permit approved,” he said. “It also will depend on getting a [sales] contract to open that mine.” Hallador has had preliminary conversations with prospective customers Bilsland declined to identify.

Bilsland confirmed the company also is looking for additional reserves near the Carlisle mine. “We hope to make Carlisle some sort of campus-type facility down the road,” he said. “We’re very happy with how things are going at Carlisle. Our costs have remained among the lowest of many of the companies in the Illinois Basin, and we work very hard every day to keep it that way.”