Representatives of Cloud Peak Energy and Montana’s Crow Tribe sign an agreement Thursday Jan. 24, 2013, that gives the mining company leasing options on 1.4 billion tons of coal beneath the Crow Indian Reservation, in Billings, Mont. Pictured from left are Cloud Peak legal counsel Amy Stefonick, company chief executive Colin Marshall, Crow Tribal Chairman Darrin Old Coyote and Tribal Executive Secretary Alvin Not Afraid. The deal would expand mining on the reservation with the coal likely to be exported overseas. (AP Photo/Matthew Brown)
CROW AGENCY, Mont. (AP) — Leaders of the Crow Tribe agreed Thursday to give a Wyoming mining company rights to lease an estimated 1.4 billion tons of coal beneath the tribe’s land in southeastern Montana.
The deal with Cloud Peak Energy involves more coal than the U.S. consumes annually, and revives stalled efforts to expand mining on the impoverished, 2.2 million-acre reservation.
Cloud Peak is hoping to ship the fuel overseas, tapping into coal export markets that have become increasingly attractive to mining companies as domestic demand falters due to competition from cheap natural gas and other factors.
Cloud Peak will pay the tribe $2.25 million up front. Additional payments in coming years could Login to read more