RJR Mining Company

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The "TRUMP" excavator at RJR Mining Company's Shannon Mine

The RJR Mining Company is a Cullman-based coal mining company founded in June 1989 by Randy Johnson. It is also a founding member of the Alabama Coal Cooperative.

In 2008 RJR Mining applied for permits to strip mine at the former Bradford Mine and Majestic No. 2 underground mines in unincorporated Jefferson County near Kimberly. The permit was opposed by the North Jefferson Community Action League, which had formed earlier as the Kimberly Community Action League to oppose an application by the Drummond Company to operate a strip mine at the same site, which had been briefly annexed into Kimberly at the company's request.

When the Jefferson County Board of Zoning Adjustments denied a rezoning necessary to operate a mine on the property, RJR appealed their decision to the Jefferson County Circuit Court. Judge Scott Vowell. He ruled in favor of RJR, but issued a number of restrictions to mitigate the potential for harm to nearby residents. With the rezoning approved, RJR secured a permit from the Alabama Surface Mining Commission in 2009.

Following their success in Kimberly, RJR made plans to open a new "Bunt Mine" on 156 acres leased from James Bunt in Morris in 2010. Bunt anticipated that his property would likely be utilized for part of the proposed Northern Beltline and wanted to profit from the coal's value before selling. He offered the Town of Morris a payment of $1 per ton of coal removed. Although the plan was opposed by Mayor Craig Drummonds and the Morris Town Council, they were advised that fighting RJR would be too costly to pursue.

The RJR Mining Company was idled in 2014, but resumed operations at a new 491-acre Shannon Mine site in Bessemer in 2018. Johnson credits the policies of President Donald Trump for making it possible to resume operations. His company named its new $2.7 million 220-ton Hitachi 1900 excavator "TRUMP" in his honor.

References

  • Patterson, Melanie (October 14, 2009) "Kimberly mining permit granted" North Jefferson News
  • Patterson, Melanie (April 13, 2010) "Resident attempts to rally interest in Morris mining" North Jefferson News
  • Osburn, Lisa (May 25, 2010) "Morris City Council approves rezoning request to allow surface mining." The Birmingham News
  • "RJR Mining Reopens in Alabama, Names $2.7 Million Excavator After President Trump" (July 10, 2018) MiningConnection.com
  • Plott, Elaina (July 31, 2018) "Hope and Change in an Alabama Coal Mine." The Atlantic