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The Intermountain Power Agency, which owns a giant power plant, will buy three coal-related properties in Carbon County and open an exhibit center at the Intermountain Power Plant near here, officials have announced.

Officials said the power agency has finalized negotiations to buy properties from Kaiser Coal Corp., following negotiations that started in 1987 after Kaiser filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The properties include coal leases containing an estimated 100 million tons of recoverable coal, the Horse Canyon Mine with buildings and underground facilities, and the Carbon County Railroad with about 11 miles of track and right-of-way connecting the mine with the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad.The power agency will have 13 years to develop the mine and determine whether it will need to mine its own coal in order to continue providing low-cost fuel for the agency. The lease will expire in 2003.

The agency has several long-term contracts that will expire shortly after the turn of the century.

Negotiations will be conducted during this decade. "If the price of coal under contract is going to be higher, that is when we would decide to mine the coal," said Dave Anderson, Intermountain Power Agency agent.

Officials also said a new exhibit center has been opened at the $5.5 billion Intermountain Power Plant.

"We hope this will provide a source for being an educational tool," said Gale Chapman, president and chief operations officer of the Intermountain Power Service Corp. "We feel this is an excellent opportunity to share this technology with people in a meaningful way."

An open house was held recently where visitors saw the project's history and operation through high-tech models, dioramas, videos and interactive displays. Tours may be scheduled by contacting Terry Hyde, administrative manager. Displays at the center were built by Universal Displays of Los Angeles.

The 1,600 megawatt plant is a cooperative effort of 36 different entities, comprising 23 Utah municipalities, six Utah Rural Electric associations, six California cities (including Los Angeles) and the Utah Power and Light Co. Construction began in 1981.