UCM buys land for Healy resident's to own
North of 60 Mining News – November 2, 2018
Last updated 9/25/2020 at 7:01am
Usibelli Coal Mine Inc. Oct. 26 announced that it has acquired the Tri-Valley subdivision in Healy, Alaska from Alaska Railroad Corp., a major step in the coal mining company's goal to make these lots available for private ownership.
"What many people outside Healy may not know, is that there isn't much land in the area available for private ownership. The community's primary residential subdivision is actually built on Alaska Railroad Corporation land. Residents own their homes, but not the land beneath," said Usibelli Coal Mine President Joe Usibelli Jr.
In 1950, Usibelli built the Usibelli camp adjacent to its mining operations, which served as housing for mine employees and their families where they lived until 1977 when Usibelli leased land from the Alaska Railroad and developed the Tri-Valley subdivision.
"At that time, my father wanted to provide an opportunity for mine personnel and their families to own homes and create a community, however, available land in the surrounding area was predominantly owned by the railroad," Joe Jr. said.
As a solution to meet the demand for residential housing and necessary facilities, the railroad leased Usibelli approximately 464 acres to develop roads, utilities, and building lots.
"Today, the Tri-Valley subdivision encompasses many of the amenities that make up Alaska's only coal mining town, and is also where many residents of Healy reside," he said.
Alaska Railroad delivers roughly 750,000 million tons of Usibelli coal per year to electric and heat generating plants in Interior Alaska.
"Usibelli Coal Mine has had a long relationship with the Alaska Railroad Corporation and on behalf of my friends and neighbors, we applaud the railroad for making this land available for private ownership," Usibelli added.
Usibelli Coal Mine is a fourth generation, family-owned, business and the only operational coal mine in Alaska. Founded by Emil Usibelli in 1943, Usibelli Coal Mine is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.
Joe Jr. attributes Usibelli's long-lived success and bright future to one other key ingredient – family.
And, when Usibelli Coal Mine talks families, it goes beyond the four generations of Usibelli's working at the mine.
"We are very family oriented – we are still a family-owned company, we have a family of employees," Joe Jr. said.
With more than one-third of the roughly 100-person all-Alaskan workforce at UCM representing the second, third or fourth generations within their families to have worked at the mine, it is no wonder the company considers these employees a part of the wider Usibelli family.
"As a result of our employees, we are now 75 years old," said Joe Jr.
And soon, many of the employees will have the opportunity to own the land under their homes in Healy.