Coal Mine Reclamation

Coal mining in the central Appalachians disturbs the natural landscape in a number of ways:

  • First of all, there is the direct disturbance of lands that lie above the coal seams that must be reclaimed via landform and soil reconstruction followed by revegetation.
  • Secondly, the coal that is mined usually contains large amounts of ash-forming and S containing waste rock materials which are cleaned from the coal and disposed of in large coal waste (refuse) fills and impoundments. These are typically much more challenging to stabilize and revegetate than regular mine spoils.
  • Finally, both types of sites (mines and refuse piles) pose potential threats to surface- and ground-water through sediment losses and production of acid drainage.

Our research program has worked since 1979 on all of the challenges discussed above. Some publications and summary presentations are posted below. More major journal and proceedings articles, chapters, research reports and bulletins on these topics can be found under Publications. Additional annual research reports and related bulletins are posted to the Powell River Project website.

Directly related materials on utilization of coal combustion products on mined lands can be found under Coal Combustion Products.