As you drive through the eight-county area of northeastern Pennsylvania’s anthracite coal region, you might be surprised to learn that what are now rolling green hills were, in some instances, once open mines that have since been reclaimed.
The anthracite coal region is not only home to the country’s largest coal refuse problem, but also the country’s largest abandoned mine land problem, and subsequently the country’s largest mine water discharge problem. Decades of mining have left the surface area scarred and adversely altered the ground water systems within the abandoned mine areas. The open pits and fractured strata allow all surface water to infiltrate into the deep mine workings, exiting as acid mine discharge many miles away into the head waters of the Lehigh, Schuylkill, and Susquehanna rivers.
Through proper re-mining, today’s anthracite operators perform total reclamation by daylighting these tunnels, removing the remaining anthracite, and re-establishing erosion and sedimentation controls, which in turn allow rain water to flow to stream naturally. These re-mining operations often result in a more productive use of the land, with significant economic and environmental benefits to the surrounding region, especially to water quality.
At Blaschak, once mining operations are completed, the land is reclaimed and restored to its natural condition. We plant grass and trees. Wildlife returns. Some reclaimed mines have been converted into new wilderness parks or areas for recreation, such as the AOAA Trails; others become the foundation for new housing or retail development.
In the last twenty years, Blaschak Anthracite has mined and daylighted over 1,000 acres of abandoned anthracite coal mines. If one were to apply a current cost of $30,000 per acre for reclaiming these acres through the Abandoned Mine Land program, the end result would total a savings of $30,000,000.
That’s why Blaschak is working closely with state legislators and government agencies to simplify the process and allow access to previously restricted bond funds. This would open the door to increased mining, creating jobs and speeding up the process of reclamation.
Raven Run Reclamation
To learn more about reclamation efforts, visit: