SUTTON — Regulatory hurdles and a dip in global prices have slowed efforts to resurrect coal mining at Wishbone Hill.

“Due to delays in the permitting process, as well as a pretty significant decline in the global coal market, we are not conducting exploration this summer,” said Lorali Simon, spokeswoman for Usibelli Coal Mine, which has for two years been exploring the possibility of mining coal in Sutton.

Usibelli still intends to make a decision whether mining the coal is feasible. A Japanese power company has agreed to buy everything Usibelli can mine.

An Australian Firm, Riversdale Alaska LLC, has also begun exploration work further to the east in Chickaloon.

Meanwhile, a complaint the Chickaloon Native Village Tribal Corp. filed with the U.S. State Department has fallen through.

The complaint, filed with the state department’s Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, alleges that Usibelli intends to mine in sacred lands, that it filed misleading documents and stale data, and didn’t communicate well with surrounding communities.

But the state department and its Japanese counterparts found that while J-Power, the company set to buy the coal, is a multinational corporation, Usibelli is not. State department jurisdiction over the complaints is therefore questionable.

Also, “the ongoing feasibility study by itself does not constitute a strong enough business relationship to require the application of the OECD guidelines,” read the decision, signed by both a Japanese and an American representative of the organization.

Contact reporter Andrew Wellner at andrew.wellner@frontiersman.com or 352-2270.

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