Lincoln County Commissioner Jerry Hansen says it is looking for companies that use a coal to products type business in an effort to keep jobs and revenue from the coal mine.
He says this is where these corporations take coal and will further refine it and use it in products that we buy.
“We’re very optimistic at the county that things are good and that they will get better,” Hansen said.
He acknowledges that people may say there won’t be as much money and there will still be budget cuts.
“That’s true,” Hansen said. “But, we’re going to look for the best approach to work through some of these things and that includes finding the right company and having the right company work through some coal to products.”
He says it is still possible that the coal mine could eventually close down and it would really be a hard hit to the county. However, he says “we are not there yet” as it is still operating and will forge ahead. This also means that there just needs to be ways found to assist the mine and help their bottom line and that is where coal to products business may help.
He says coal can go into activated carbon. This helps in manufacturing processes for medical, pharmaceutical, environmental air treatment, and others. Another way coal is used to to put into carbon black and this is used in industries like tires, rubber, and conductive plastics.
“There are opportunities to really take the coal in its form where it would sell for ‘x’ number of dollars per ton,” Hansen said. “When you refine it further and put it into coal to products then you can get a higher dollar value. It’s really a value-added type refinement process.”
He says nothing is set in stone just that they’re optimistic that this type of business can help the community. He also says Lincoln County Treasurer Jerry Greenfield is taking the lead on it as he realizes the need to keep revenue coming in.