Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Westmoreland Wasn't Cleared to Expand Coal Mine, Interior Says

Westmoreland Coal Co. hasn’t received federal approval to expand a Montana mine, the U.S. Interior Department said Wednesday, a day after the miner’s shares surged on a report the project had been cleared.

“A previous statement by the Department that it had approved the expansion of the mine was incorrect and was the result of an internal miscommunication,” Heather Swift, a spokeswoman, said by email.

Interior is taking the next step in the process to make a draft environmental impact statement available and opening up a period for public comments, Swift said. She was correcting her statement that appeared in an Associated Press article last week that Westmoreland had been cleared to expand the facility, potentially unlocking 60 million tons of coal production there.

Westmoreland jumped as much as much as 49 percent in intraday trading on Tuesday, the most since 1998. The company did not respond to voice and email requests seeking comment Wednesday.

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