BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) _ The Crow Tribe has agreed to lease an additional 145 million tons of coal to Westmoreland Coal under a deal that includes $12.5 million in bonus and advance royalty payments to the southeastern Montana tribe.
Robert King, president of the Colorado-based company, said Thursday's deal will extend the life of its Absaloka mine for another 20 years.
King says about two-thirds of the mine's 118 employees are members of the Crow Tribe.
Westmoreland has leased coal reserves from the tribe since 1974. The new lease gives the company control over 357 million tons of coal reserves and resources.
The lease is subject to approval by the federal Bureau of Land Management.