By Brenda Ruggiero
July 5, 2018 - Corsa Coal Corp. representatives reported plans for expansion at the Casselman Mine near Grantsville, Maryland at a recent Greater Grantsville Business Association presentation.
The company owns the two-section underground mine operating in the Upper Kittanning Coal Seam near Grantsville. Mining began there in July 2011.
Tom Moran, manager of business development, reported that the mine is up and running, with around 100 people employed there.
Rob Bottegal, left, and Tom Moran present a map of the Casselman Mine
Photo by Brenda Ruggiero
We are also looking at expanding the mine,” he said. “The coal export market is pretty strong for this quality of coal.”
Rob Bottegal, senior vice present of Maryland Energy Resources, reported that Corsa is currently producing and selling about 2 million tons of coal per year, with a goal of going to 4 million in the next two years.
“We are looking in Pennsylvania and Maryland,” he said. “We have plant capacity and shipping capacity for 4 million tons, and we want to get up to that number. We feel that the market’s going to bear that for the next five or six years or so.”
He noted that the domestic market for coal is strong, and the export market is even stronger.
“That’s the vision that we see, and part of that going forward is this Casselman Basin,” Bottegal said. “We’ve identified it as high-value, and we would like to move forward with additional production there.”
He said there are probably three-to-five years of mining left in the areas they are currently working in. At this time, two shifts work from four to six days a week depending on sales and shipping times.
Once the application is approved, Corsa plans to start work on the North Portal Expansion Project, which will involve a 78.6-acre surface facility north of Fire Clay Road and a 911.2-acre deep mine expansion.
Moran stated that Allegany and Garrett counties are good areas because they are very close to a port for shipping.
According to Bottegal, about $20 million was spent last year on royalties, contracting, trucking, and supplies at the Casselman Mine. Another $11 million was spent on wages.
A total of 876,000 raw tons were mined in 2017, and 526,000 clean tons were produced at an approximate 60 percent recovery.
Other GGBA reports:
• Mike Dreisbach of Garrett Trails noted that the Garrett County Gran Fondo ride was just completed, involving about 800 cyclists.
“It’s a big bike ride, and we’ll do it again next year,” he said. “It’s really about doing for the county. This year because we had a little bit less people, it was probably worth about 1.1 million in tourism activity when it comes to that one-day event. Nobody got hurt, everybody got wet, and it was a good time.”
Tim Bender of Byco Enterprises completed the ride and said he talked to a lot of people from out of the area.
“So many people are so happy to come to Garrett County and feel the community support,” he said. “People out on the road and at their houses have water for you, and if you stop and talk to them, they’re all friendly and it’s just a great place to be.”
• Karen Reckner, Garrett County Arts Council president, said one of the key programs of the arts council is Community Development Grant Funding to other arts organizations in the communities around Garrett County.
“We just announced that this year we will be distributing $44,000 to arts organizations for their programming,” she said. “The arts are in full swing right now in the county, and most of the activities of our grantees and other groups are listed on our arts calendar at garrettarts.org, so check it out. There’s always something going on.”
• Robin Jones, Grantsville town administrator, reported an increased presence of vandalism and bullying this summer. This includes reports of kids smoking marijuana in the park, used condoms being found throughout the area, vulgar words written on the newly resurfaced basketball courts, and kids speaking disrespectfully to town employees in the park.
Jones said surveilance cameras should be installed in the park by the end of July, and sheriff’s deputies plan to start extra patrols in the area.
She also noted that county commissioners have approved a proposal for new picnic tables in all the pavilions and the refinishing of the tennis courts. The proposal is now before the Board of Public Works. If approved, these items will be completed next summer.
• Commissioner Paul Edwards reported that the budget was passed, with a slight decrease in the property tax rate.
“We’ve got some big projects in the pipeline that you’ll probably see come to fruition, hopefully before the end of the year,” he said.
These include a private partnership on rental units both in Grantsville and Oakland, the shell building at the McHenry business park that should break ground sometime soon, and permits to drill wells for building lots on top of the mountain in McHenry.
“Everything got stalled up there because we ran out of water, but now that the water has been appropriated, they can start building some more homes up there,” he said. “This goes all the way around the back side — not concentrated on the top where everything else is.”
Edwards also noted six broadband expansions are in the works for this summer.
He said a new principal for Grantsville Elementary should be named at the July 10 meeting of the Garrett County Board of Education.
“Once we get that person situated, I may have a roundtable with some people to see how this group and other businesses and community groups can help the elementary school,” he said. “We want to help get this new person established and ready to help our kids.”
• GGBA President Leah Diehl reported that a Business Open House is planned for Aug. 22 at the Grantsville fire hall. Participation will be open for any business, and community members will be invited to the event.
The next GGBA meeting will be held at 8 a.m. July 25 at Penn Alps.
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