RS-41 Available Coal Resources of the Williams Fork Formation in the Yampa Coal Field, Routt and Moffat Counties, Colorado


Describes the amount of coal actually available for mining in the Yampa Coal Field of Routt and Moffat Counties, Colorado. The objective is to provide geological information to resource developers, government planners and the public. Digital PDF download. RS-41D

From the Abstract:

The CGS has completed an assessment of the available coal resources contained within the Williams Fork Formation for a 520 square mile area in northwest Colorado referred to as the Yampa Coal Field. This area contains a significant quantity of high-quality coal that is economically suitable for mining and also has coalbed methane potential. The coal seams of the Williams Fork Formation are often thick, laterally continuous and low in sulfur. Surface dragline and underground longwall operations are currently mining in this formation. Due to resource size, quality, and mining conditions, the Yampa Coal Field is perceived to be an attractive future fuel supply region for low-cost power generation. Because of this future potential, the Yampa Coal Field was selected for this resource assessment.

United States coal resource tonnage is coal that is in place, or the “original” resource of a deposit. Original coal resources are defined as the amount of coal, containing 33 percent or less ash, in the ground prior to production and under less than 6,000 ft of overburden. The coal beds are 14 in. or thicker for anthracite and bituminous coal, or 30 in. or thicker for subbituminous coal and lignite (Wood and others, 1983). Land use, regulatory, technological, and economical restrictions on coal mining and resource recoverability were not originally part of their assessment. Consequently government and industry planners who use that resource tonnage overestimate their supply of minable coal.