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Navajo president signs off on $2.3M mine study

This Sept. 4, 2011 file photo shows the main plant facility at the Navajo Generating Station, as seen from Lake Powell in Page, Ariz. The federal government is proposing new limits for pollution from the coal-fired power plant on the Navajo Nation that it says will improve visibility at places like the Grand Canyon, but it could come with a price tag of more than $1 billion, according to the plant's owners. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

This Sept. 4, 2011 file photo shows the main plant facility at the Navajo Generating Station, as seen from Lake Powell in Page, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, File)

WINDOW ROCK, Ariz. (AP) ai??i?? The Navajo Nation will spend $2.3 million to study the purchase of a coal mine in the Four Corners region.

Tribal President Ben Shelly signed off on the spending measure this week.

The Navajo Mine run by BHP Billiton is the sole provider of coal to the Four Corners Power Plant near Farmington, N.M.

The tribe announced in December that it would consider buying the mine after BHP and the power plant’s operator failed to reach a fuel supply agreement.

Shelly says he wants to preserve the largely Navajo workforce and sustain a revenue source for the tribe.

The study will allow the Navajo Nation to conduct an independent legal and financial analysis.

June 30 is the target date for the tribe to decide whether to venture into the coal-mining business.

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