By Ryan Randazzo | Arizona Republic
The Navajo Nation is considering taking over the Kayenta Mine in addition to the coal plant near Page that is scheduled to close this year, speaker LoRenzo Bates said Monday.
The revelation shows an increased willingness by the tribe to take risks to keep the coal facilities running. Any deal to acquire the mine and the largest coal plant in the West will involve not only the price, but also the cleanup liability.
Nonetheless, Bates said the tribe must consider all options because the facilities are so critical to the tribal economy.
Bates also said that the Navajo Nation has years worth of coal in the ground, which someday could be used for other purposes such as making liquid fuels. Shutting down the operations could foreclose any opportunities to sell the coal for those uses.
The tribe announced in November it was considering taking over the troubled Navajo Generating Station, and Bates said the tribe for months has also been exploring taking over the mine from Peabody Energy.