CHARLESTON — During his Jan. 13 State of the State Address, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin announced the development of the Hobet mine property on the border of Boone and Lincoln counties.
Tomblin noted, “We are also proposing to develop the largest industrial site in West Virginia history at the former Hobet surface mine in Boone and Lincoln counties. With 12,000 acres located just off Corridor G, this site is largest enough to fit virtually every major economic development project in recent history including Toyota, Proctor and Gamble, Gestamp, Macy’s, Amazon and more with thousands of acres leftover.”
Kris Mitchell, with the Boone County Community and Economic Development Corporation (BCCEDC), stated the BCCEDC and the governor have been discussing possible development of the site since Tomblin took office.
Mitchell explained the biggest problem with the site has historically been transportation saying, “Although there are many routes to the site, few are business friendly and are more useable for ATVs.”
During the bankruptcy of Patriot Coal, most of the Hobet surface mine site was purchased by the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund (VCLF). Mitchell added, “VCLF believes strongly in economic development, and they became a very willing partner in the project.”
Plans for the site include addressing the transportation issues and developing the area for industrial use. The WV Development Office will then market the site to companies looking to locate or expand in West Virginia.
Mitchell added, “We are so thankful the governor has made this project a priority. It will be a major economic boost for all of southern West Virginia. The property is in Boone and Lincoln Counties, but the impact is so much bigger. In one hour, you can be in any of the six southern coalfield counties. We recognize that our counties are similar and we can accomplish more together. That is exactly what this will be: a regional economic boost.”
Owen Wells is a reporter for Civitas Media. He can be reached at 304-369-1165 ext. 1661 or by email at [email protected]