BENTON – Governor Pat Quinn today announced approval of a new underground coal mine to be opened in Hamilton County. The new mine will create 300 construction jobs and 350 permanent jobs and provide a significant economic boost to southern Illinois.
“The project will mean hundreds of jobs for Hamilton County and southern Illinois,” Governor Quinn said. “Our efforts at coal development, encouraging cleaner-coal technology, and finding markets for Illinois coal mean thousands of jobs for Illinois workers and a huge boost to the regional economy.”
The White Oak Mine #1, operated by White Oak Resources LLC, will be located northeast of McLeansboro. The company will invest more than $400 million in construction of the mine, which is expected to open in late 2012 or early 2013 with projected annual production of 7.5 million tons of coal. The White Oak Mine #1 is the first of four the company has proposed for the area.
Development of the new mining operation will create 300 construction jobs and approximately 350 permanent jobs once the mine is in full production, with an annual payroll expected to exceed $5 million. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity indicates that for every coal mining job in Illinois, seven indirect jobs are created, meaning the White Oak Mine #1 is expected to help support approximately 2,450 indirect jobs.
“While the coal mining industry has been particularly hard hit by the recent economic recession, White Oak remains committed to developing its reserves in Hamilton County,” said White Oak President Scott Spears. “With these permits now in hand, we look forward to the next steps in the process of building a worldclass operation that will not only bring high paying jobs to the area, but also bring additional high quality production to the Illinois Basin.”
The Illinois Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) Office of Mines and Minerals approved the permit for White Oak Mine #1 this week.
"I applaud Governor Quinn for his continued commitment to Illinois’ mining industry. Coal mining is one of the most important economic engines in southern Illinois and is a growing industry throughout our state," said Illinois Department of Natural Resources Director Marc Miller.
The IDNR Office of Mines and Minerals reports Hamilton County will receive $6.2 million in mining royalties during the mine’s first five years, while the mine operation will also mean new tax revenues supporting state and local services.