FARMINGTON >> The sale of Navajo Mine from its parent company, BHP Billiton, to a tribal enterprise created by the Navajo Nation was completed Monday, according to a press release issued by BHP Billiton.

"BHP Billiton has completed the sale of Navajo Mine to the Navajo Transitional Energy Company, a Navajo Nation owned company established for the purpose of acquiring Navajo Mine. Final approvals from the Four Corners Power Plant owners and the Navajo Nation Council have been received and the transaction is effective 30 December 2013," the press release states.

Pat Risner, New Mexico Coal Division Asset President for BHP Billiton, said the coal company is pleased that Four Corners Power Plant owners, the Navajo Nation and NTEC agreed to move forward and worked to complete the transaction.

"This is great news for the employees, communities, and all stakeholders that derive benefits from Navajo Mine and the Four Corners Power Plant," Risner said.

With the sale completed, mining activity would continue at Navajo Mine, which solely supplies coal to the Four Corners Power Plant, for at least 15 years after the tribal enterprise takes control of operations in 2016.

Employment opportunities will continue at both the coal mine and power plant along with continuing a revenue stream for the Navajo Nation, according to the press release.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636. Follow her @nsmithdt on Twitter.