“We are proud to bring in an experienced coal mining company to the Navajo mine,” said Clark Moseley, CEO, NTEC. “Given the unique structure of Navajo mine, we believe that North American Coal is the best fit to meet our contractual duties with Four Corners Power Plant.”

NTEC’s Management Committee approved the contract mining agreement with Bisti Fuels Co. during its quarterly meeting in early December.

Bisti Fuels will begin transitioning into its new role staring in January. BHP Billiton New Mexico Coal, the current operator and a subsidiary of BHP Billiton, is scheduled to exit the mine as the contract miner at the end of 2016.

“This ensures the Navajo Nation will continue to receive coal royalties and revenues for the coming years,” Moseley said.

Last year, NTEC provided $37 million in royalty and tax payments to the Navajo Nation. In addition, the Navajo mine employs about 320 people, most of whom are Navajo.

NTEC began the process of seeking a new miner earlier this year. In May, companies submitted proposals to NTEC to operate the Navajo mine. By July, the field was narrowed to four companies, and in October, NTEC began formal contract negotiations with North American Coal.

“We did our due diligence. With each proposing company, we weighed our needs at the Navajo mine against the strengths of each company,” Moseley said. “North American Coal submitted a compelling proposal that illustrated they could clearly meet our needs. We are proud to have them aboard at Navajo mine.”

NTEC expects to mine an estimated 6 million tons of coal a year during the length of the contract. The coal is sold to Four Corners Power Plant, NTEC’s sole customer.