SOMERSET, Colo. (AP) – The Bureau of Land Management will sell rights to mine coal in Gunnison County’s Elk Creek region next month.

The BLM announced Monday that a lease sale for the 786-acre tract would be held May 15.

Environmental groups earlier objected to that sale because of concerns about methane escaping into the air during mining but an appeals board upheld the sale last month.

The company that operates the Elk Creek Mine, Oxbow Mining LLC, has applied to mine the land. The tract will be leased to the highest bidder.

The BLM estimates there are almost 4 million tons of recoverable coal there, which would generate a total of $6.3 million in royalties for the federal government and Colorado.

(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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