Posted: Apr 11, 2013 8:23 PM by Victoria Fregoso - MTN News
CROW AGENCY - The Crow Tribe and Westmoreland Coal Company signed a lease Thursday afternoon for more than 145 million tons of coal.
The mining will take place near the existing Absaloka Mine on the northeastern corner of the Crow Reservation. Mining for those resources is expected to last up to 25 years.
The lease will bring the tribe $12.5 million in advance and royalty payments. Plus, they will collect production royalties on all coal sales of 12.5 percent.
Chairman of the Crow Tribe Darrin Old Coyote says in combination with the recent Cloud Peak agreement, he hopes the Crow Tribe will lead by example for other tribes when it comes to resource development on reservations.
The Absaloka Mine is the largest private employer on the reservation. More than 2/3 of the workforce is enrolled tribal members.
Westmoreland began working with the tribe in 1974. "The relationship is a good one," said Westmoreland President and C.E.O. Robert King. "We're definitely impressed with the new chairman and his vision. We think it's a really good thing for the crow and it's also going to be a really good thing for us."