The federal government reached a major agreement with a coal firm and attorneys to partially settle $61.5 million in unpaid royalties and interest tied to two Wyoming coal mines, according to court documents filed Friday.
The Interior Department, a federal agency managing public lands, will give the current coal operator Eagle Specialty Materials 10 years to pay off a portion of the debts left behind by previous owners of the Eagle Butte and Belle Ayr mines. The federal government will not charge the new ownership interest over that period.
The former owners of the two mines — Blackjewel and Contura Energy — accumulated approximately $32.9 million in unpaid royalties and interest from coal extracted at the Belle Ayr mine near Gillette. At the neighboring Eagle Butte mine, the companies left behind a total of $28.4 million in unpaid royalties and interest before Eagle Specialty Materials took over operations, according to the legal filing. That’s in addition to $1.4 million in interest.