GEC Expertise (continued)

  • Property management
  • Natural resource evaluations and appraisals
  • Accident investigations and provide expert testimony
  • Timberland management
  • Project feasibility studies
  • Environmental assessments
  • Geo-technical studies
  • Mine productivity evaluations

PROPERTY MANAGEMENT

GEC represents more than 30 estates, partnerships, financial institutions, corporations, and trusts that own and control several hundred thousand acres of property in West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. GEC develops a comprehensive understanding of all contractual agreements as well as the geography, geology, and productive history associated with each property it manages. All leases and contracts for extraction of various industrial minerals, coal, natural gas, and timber resources are then monitored closely for compliance.

GEC evaluates mining, natural gas operations and other surface land uses to determine the efficiency of extraction. We make regular, on-site visits to the operations to observe and evaluate recovery of the resources. Each month, we verify the accuracy of various industrial minerals, coal, timber, and natural gas royalty statements. We compare mine-tonnage reports and timber revenues while taking careful field measurements of resource removal.

Tax Services

One of GEC's property-management specialties is coordinating payment of state and county property taxes. Our many years of cooperative work with county assessors and state tax personnel, as well as our longstanding relationships with various industrial mineral, coal and timber companies, help us to minimize our clients' tax burdens. We maintain full-receipted payment records. For all of our managed properties, we prepare a tract-by-tract schedule comparing the taxes paid in the current year to taxes paid in the previous year.

Reclamation

Comprehensive land management must include the careful control of post-mining reclamation activities beyond simple permit compliance. GEC ensures that lessees perform timely reclamation and guides these efforts toward optimal post-mining land use.

Conflict Minimization

GEC integrates property management activities by monitoring and mediating Lessee activities. Examples of these efforts include coordinating pre-mining timber harvesting, assuring that utility rights-of-way and gas/oil well locations do not interfere with present or future mining operations, and resolving reclamation responsibility conflicts.

Rental Units

GEC manages approximately 200 rental units that include houses, trailer sites, and farm fields. We visit these properties as needed to observe stewardship and to enforce rights of ownership. We collect rent and royalty revenues as provided for in each agreement and generally distribute quarterly to the client. We initiate legal action on our clients' behalf when necessary to ensure compliance with leases and rental agreements and to avoid property loss by adverse possession.

NATURAL RESOURCE EVALUATIONS AND APPRAISALS

GEC provides a complete range of services for natural resource studies in industrial minerals, timber, natural gas, and coal. These evaluations include both qualitative and quantitative descriptions of the natural resource, projections of revenues and expenses associated with the assets, and recommendations for management of all the resources.

GEC has evaluated more than 200 natural resource properties to determine their resource potential. These properties range from a few acres to over 150,000 acres and include both substantially undeveloped properties and properties that are heavily mined and/or timbered.

Extensive Geological Database

GEC maintains an extensive database of geological data that dates to the turn of the century. This information includes property maps, mine maps, diamond drill holes, and outcrop prospect measurements.

Definition of Resources

GEC uses state-of-the-art, computer-assisted drawing programs (ServCadd and AutoCAD), geographical information systems (GIS), and statistical timber programs to define a property's resources. We often complement our definition of the quantity of coal resources by tonnage and quality with estimates of production cost and market realizations. Our definition of the coal reserves usually includes subjective narratives that identify the risks and challenges associated with extraction. These evaluations often include recommendations for future prospecting to expand total return potential.

GEC has appraised Appalachian natural resource properties for buyers, sellers, and estate settlements for more than thirty years. We have performed court-approved property appraisals in numerous condemnation and partition suites.

Cash-Flow Analysis

GEC usually conducts a cash-flow analysis to appraise natural resource property. We determine the expected revenues from mineral, natural gas, and timber resources independently. To determine the cash flow from mineral resources, we perform a mineral reserve study and develop a mine plan. To ascertain the cash flow from timber resources, we conduct a timber inventory and develop a cutting schedule. We calculate the decline of existing wells and project the revenue from additional drilling to determine the cash flow from natural gas resources. We evaluate each resource separately with a discount rate that reflects the risk of receiving the revenue. Then GEC determines the net present value of each resource. The appraised value is the sum of the net present value of each individual resource.

PROVIDE EXPERT TESTIMONY

GEC has provided expert testimony in several cases concerning the safety and value of natural resource extraction methods. Using its experiences gained in the regulatory arena and the operations of various mining and oil and gas operations that employees of GEC have overseen, the GEC team can assist any legal team as a consultant of witness concering the business of mining, oil and gas and other natural resource extraction industries.

PROJECT FEASIBILITY STUDIES

GEC provides a complete range of services to evaluate the feasibility of mining development projects. Such projects include deep and surface mines, haulroads, material-handling facilities, transportation facilities, and load-out facilities. Our studies conform to the client's needs and to the nature of the property. We estimate detailed and comprehensive costs to facilitate decisions about capitalization. We also analyze alternate scenarios and produce a report with recommendations and comments.

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS

GEC staff has performed a variety of Phase I environmental site assessments (ESAs). These projects have ranged from relatively simple ESAs on undeveloped properties to extensive ESAs on active mine properties with long histories of mining activity. Many of these ESAs involve mineral-ownership issues. All of our ESAs are commissioned under legal counsel, and all work is performed in general accordance with the American Society of Testing and Materials' (ASTM) Standards for Phase I Environmental Assessments. These standards define sound practices for conducting ESAs on commercial real estate within the context of a commercial transaction. They are intended to satisfy the requirements of "the innocent purchaser defense."

The GEC staff is experienced in EPA sample collection protocols and other site investigation methods. We have worked extensively with West Virginia regulatory agencies (Solid and Hazardous Waste, Water Quality, Mining, etc.). On several occasions, GEC professionals have been retained to evaluate environmental issues associated with regulatory permits. GEC is currently providing technical assistance and consulting services on wastewater issues for a commercial water treatment facility that it designed.

GEO-TECHNICAL STUDIES

The professionals at GEC have extensive experience in the geo-technical fields of slope stability, mine roof control, and soils engineering. Among our specialties are highwall safety and mine-roof issues.

Unique Highwall Design Protocol

Because regulatory agencies are becoming increasingly concerned with highwall safety issues, GEC has developed a design protocol that employs deterministic and probabilistic methods to establish the ultimate slope angle of the mine or quarry pit. The protocol is useful for long-term planning and for assuring highwall safety.

GEC professionals have thus designed the ultimate pit configuration and slope angles for several quarries in the eastern United States. The designs apply sophisticated evaluation techniques, including "Monte Carlo simulations," to assess the long-term stability of final mine and quarry highwalls. The associated safety factors are calculated using "PSLOPE," a software application developed by GEC in conjunction with Virginia Polytechnic Institute, Blacksburg, VA.

Mine-Roof Safety

GEC has also developed a unique way to predict control problems in underground mine roofs, as well as to detect and explain existing adverse roof conditions. Our technique combines satellite imagery, aerial photography, depositional modeling, and lineament analysis to reduce roof problems feasibly and economically. We couple depositional modeling techniques with the lineament work to determine whether depositional anomalies, such as channel sands, are contributing to roof-control problems. We then make mine projection recommendations to minimize future roof-control problems. GEC has successfully applied these methods to improve the productivity of several large Appalachian mines.

MINE PRODUCTIVITY EVALUATION

GEC is sometimes called upon to determine reasons for high production costs and to suggest ways to reduce cost and improve productivity. These studies require extensive on-site evaluation of the active mining operations, as well as an intensive study of the mine's overall layout and managerial practices. We evaluate equipment for age, condition, suitability, and routine maintenance. We assess mining cycles for efficiency as well as safety and we obtain information about the training and skills of the workforce. Then, we compile our observations into a report that compares present costs to costs after our recommendations have been implemented. GEC's staff assists in implementing the recommendations when requested.

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