Navajo Nation company buys New Mexico coal mine

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm •  Published: December 31, 2013

FARMINGTON, N.M. (AP) — A company owned by the Navajo Nation finished its purchase of a northwestern New Mexico coal mine the same day an Arizona utility took ownership of a California utility's stake in a power plant that gets its fuel from the mine.

BHP Billiton completed the $85 million sale of the Navajo Mine near Farmington to the Navajo Transitional Energy Co. LLC on Monday. The mine produces 8.5 million tons of coal annually.

BHP will continue to operate the mine until 2016.

Tribal officials have said the acquisition is a major step in taking control of the reservation's coal resources.

"It puts Navajo Nation in control of its own destiny," LoRenzo Bates, chairman of the Tribal Council's Budget and Finance Committee, said in October.

In a related transaction, Arizona Public Service Co. on Monday completed its purchase of Southern California Edison's ownership of Units 4 and 5 at the Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington for approximately $182 million.

As another part of a previously announced plan to bring the plant into compliance with federal clean air standards, APS permanently closed Units 1, 2 and 3 on Monday. It also will install additional emission controls on the two remaining units.

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