MINERAL RESOURCES and MINING IN GREENE COUNTY Department of Economic Development
Robbie Matesic, Executive Director 49 South Washington Street, Waynesburg, PA 15370
Phone: 724-852-5300 / Fax: 724-852-2944
Office Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., MondayFriday
Greene County, the "Land of Green Fields, Fertile Farms, and New Horizons", has an abundance of natural resources available.
CNX Gas Corporation, a CONSOL Energy company, is the second largest gas producer in Appalachia. Created initially to capture the methane liberated from our coal seams, CNX Gas now produces enough methane each year to heat over 200,000 homes.
Allegheny Energy, Hatfield's Ferry (Coal-Fired) Power Station located on the Monongahela River (Route 21) in Greene County near Masontown, PA. T he 1710-megawatt Hatfield's Ferry Power Station produces enough electricity to serve hundreds of thousands of customers in the Allegheny system.
TIMBER & TIMBER HARVESTING:
Greene County is lush and green during the warmer seasons, and our forests are important to Greene Countians as it is for all Pennsylvaniana. We want to ensure the beauty and diversity of our forests for many generations to come. Therefore there are state regulations for timber harvesting; and timber management encourages the preservation of open space.
Tree planting (artificial regeneration) generally is not necessary in our Pennsylvania forests; throught he use of acceptable silvicultural practices, most of Pennylvania's forests will regenerate naturally from seeds or sprouts. For more information on forestry and PA regulations of timber harvesting, click here.
BITUMINOUS COAL MINING:
Bituminous coal mining began in 1902 and in recent years Greene County has been Pennsylvania’s highest producing county, nearly all from subsurface mines. Coal mining remains a strong factor of the character of Greene County.
Residential developments built around mining pursuits remain as small "patch towns" or villages. Examples of these can be seen throughout Southeastern Greene County, including Crucible, Nemacolin, Bobtown, and others. Unfortunately, the years of mining activity has left significant environmental and economic impacts. Environmental concerns include mine drainage, coal refuse piles, and abandoned coal structures.
The reported production for the active underground mines from in Greene County altogether, was over 37 million tons of coal were mined in 2004. Since 2004, Dunkard and Dilworth mines closed and 4-West Mine opened. Bailey and Enlow Fork remain two of the most productive coal mines in the United States. Each mine produced over 10 million tons of coal in 2004. While Bailey produced more than 11 million in 2005, Enlow Fork dropped to just under 10 million in 2005. Blacksville 2, Cumberland and Emerald mines each produced over five million tons of coal in 2004. Compared to 2005, Blacksville 2 remained consistent while both Emerald and Cumberland produced over 6 and 7 tons, respectively.
Bailey Mine: is owned by Consol Energy, Inc. and is located in northwestern Greene County in Richhill and Gray Townships and crosses into Washington County. Coal is mined from the Pittsburgh Seam using two longwall systems and seven continuous mining machines. Continuous mining machines allow the coal to be mined in a continuous operation where one machine rips coal from the face and loads it directly into a hauling unit. Coal is transported to the surface and then processed in the Bailey Central Preparation Plant. Among the largest underground coal mines in the United States, Bailey produced 11.1 million tons of coal in 2005.
Blacksville 2 Mine: is owned by Consol Energy, Inc. and is located in southern Greene County in Gilmore, Jackson and Wayne Townships and then spans across the border into West Virginia. Coal is mined from the Pittsburgh Seam using one longwall system and three continuous mining machines. Coal is transported underground by conveyor belts to the preparation plant, located in northern West Virginia. Blacksville produced 5.3 million tons of coal in 2005.
Cumberland Mine: is owned by Foundation Coal Holdings, Inc. and is located approximately 12 miles south of Waynesburg in Perry, Whiteley, and Wayne Townships and has been in operation since 1977. All of the coal at the Cumberland Mine is processed through a preparation plant before being loaded onto Foundation Coal’s owned and operated railroad for transportation to the Monongahela River dock site. At the dock site, coal is loaded into barges for transportation to river-served utilities or to other docks for subsequent rail shipment to non-river-served utilities. The mine can also ship a portion of its production via truck. Cumberland shipped 7.0 million tons of coal in 2005. As of December 31, 2005, Cumberland had an assigned reserve base of 102.3 million tons. Cumberland has approximately 611 salaried and hourly employees.
Emerald Mine: is owned by Alpha Natural Resources (Foundation Coal Holdings, Inc.) and is located approximately a half of a mile south of Waynesburg just north of the Cumberland Mine, in Center, Franklin and Whiteley Townships, and has been in operation since 1977. All of Emerald's coal is processed through a preparation plant before being loaded into unit trains operated by the Norfolk Southern Railroad or the CSX Railroad. The mine also has the option to ship a portion of its coal by truck. Emerald shipped 6.7 million tons of coal in 2005. As of December 31, 2005, Emerald had an assigned reserve base of approximately 98.1 million tons of coal reserves. Approximately 577 salaried and hourly employees work at Emerald.
Enlow Fork Mine: is owned by Consol Energy Inc. and is located in the northwestern Greene County in Morris Township, though most of the mine is in Washington County. Coal is mined from the Pittsburgh Seam using two longwall systems and six continuous mining machines. Coal is transported to the surface by conveyor belts and is processed in the Bailey Central Preparation Plant that can fully wash coal. Enlow Fork is one of the largest underground coal mines in the United States and, in 2005, produced 9.8 million tons of coal.
I-79 Undermining: Beginning in September 2004, Alpha Natural Resources (Foundation Coal Holdings, Inc.) began conducting longwall-mining operations in the Cumberland and Emerald Mines in Greene County underneath segments of Interstate 79 south of Waynesburg. The undermining should be complete in 2009. PA DEP provides detailed information on the mining operations, including, regularly updated reports on the progress of the undermining, click here for their website.
Dooley Run Mine: The Dooley Run Mine, owned by Dana Mining Company, is located in Dunkard Township. The mine was shut down due to the rising Shannopin Mine pool, which flooded the reserves. The Dooley Run Mine was operating in the Sewickley coal seam about 100 feet above the Pittsburgh seam. The remediation of the Shannopin Mine will allow Dana Mining Company to reopen the Dooley Run Mine and expand other mining operations in the area.
Shannopin Mine: The Shannopin Mine is located near the village of Bobtown in Dunkard Township. The Shannopin Coal Company operated the Shannopin mine from the 1926 until 1993, when Shannopin filed bankruptcy and abandoned the mine. The Commonwealth forfeited and demolished hazardous surface structures and bridges and seal mine portal openings. Diversified Energy Ventures, Inc. bought the property out of bankruptcy in 1993. In 2003, through a combined effort of Pennsylvania state agencies and the Dana Mining Company, a plant was constructed to pump and treat the Shannopin polluted mine pool. The treatment plant prevented mine water from discharging and polluting Dunkard Creek and the Monongahela River.
Underground Mines: All active mines in Greene County utilize either the room and pillar or the longwall method, which are both underground techniques.
The room and pillar method involves the excavation of coal from large “rooms” but leaves intervening “pillars” of coal to hold up the roof. The disadvantage to this method is that only about 40 percent of the original coal is extracted; the rest remains in the mine as pillars and is essentially lost. The Dana Mining Company of Pennsylvania, Inc. (Dana) is the only active mining company in Greene County that utilizes this method.
In contrast, the longwall method of coal mining is much more effective, thus, has become more commonplace for coal extraction. For longwall mining, a single block of coal, which can exceed 1,000 feet wide and 10,000 feet long, is isolated and mined along the short side, using equipment that continuously shears off the coal face across the entire width of the block. Following each pass across the operating face, the mining equipment is advanced forward in preparation for making a new cut. As forward progress is made, all of the coal is extracted and the mine roof is allowed to collapse in a carefully controlled manner. Longwall mining is especially efficient and can produce a large amount of coal in a short period of time in areas where the coal bed is sufficiently thick and continuous.
As of March of 2007, there are eight (8) active deep mines located in Greene County, listed below:
Bailey (Longwall) Mine in Richill, Gray, and Aleppo Townships (Consolidation Coal Co.)
Blacksville No. 2 (Longwall) Mine in Jackson, Wayne, and Whiteley Townships (Consolidation Coal Co.)
Cumberland (Longwall) Mine in Center, Greene, Franklin, Perry, Wayne and Whiteley Townships (Foundation Coal Co.)
Crawdad Portal B (Room and Pilar) Mine in Dunkard and Perry Townships (Dana Mining Company of PA, Inc.)
4-West (Room and Pilar) Mine in Dunkard Township (Dana Mining Company of PA, Inc.)
Emerald No. 1 (Longwall) Mine in Center, Franklin, and Whiteley Townships and Waynesburg Borough (Foundation Coal Co.)
Enlow Fork (Longwall) Mine in Richhill and Morris Townships (Consolidation Coal Co.)
Titus (Room and Pilar) Mine in Dunkard Township (Dana Mining Company of PA, Inc.)
Surface Mines: Once known as strip mining, surface mining is accomplished by removing overburden from the coal seam and then blasting and removing the coal. As a method of coal extraction, surface mining accounts for about 60 percent of coal production in the United States, though it accounts for very little in Greene County. Surface mining is as much a land reclamation process as it is a method of coal extraction. In time, reclaimed sites can be returned to many productive uses such as recreation areas, golf courses, wildlife preserves, parks, farms, wetlands, housing developments and pastures. As of March 2007, there were three active strip mines in Greene County: two in Greene Township (the Minor Mine and the Keener Surface Mine) and one in Morgan Township (the Mather Strip).
United Mine Workers Coal Heritage Park: Building upon the history of coal mining in Greene County, the County in collaboration with the United Mine Workers, have received a First Industries Tourism grant to establish a nationally significant Coal Heritage Park that that would be co-located with the UMWA Training Center. The grant paid for a study, released in April of 2008 by Economics Research Associates, that evaluated the market potential for such an attraction in Greene County. A second report is due that will focus on the financial and economic analyses portions of the study and implementation recommendations.
The site for the UMWA Training Center and Coal Heritage Park is the old Gateway mine portal, land, and buildings near Ruff Creek, off Interstate 79 in Greene County, 30 miles from West Virginia and 40 miles from Pittsburgh. The Park will require a building of roughly 44,000 square feet; of which 24,000 would be devoted to exhibits. There would be additional outside exhibits, including relocated coal patch structures. Preliminary cost estimates are around $23.9 million (2008 dollars). Initial concepts for Park exhibits include a mining timeline that will simulate a coal mine (lighting, temperature, smells, machinery, etc.) and a recreation of a company town and Company Store. The center will also house a museum store and a food court.
The Coal Heritage Park project, if fully developed, would be a regional draw and potentially a national draw for southwestern Pennsylvania. The project would generate significant demand for overnight accommodations and would draw tourists from well outside a 100-mile radius of the proposed site. It would employ several people for the technology integrated into the Coal Heritage Park, developers, machine operators, management and marketing staff would additionally be required. Additionally it would provide a range of opportunities for small businesses to engage in activities around and in the park and provide additional minimum wage jobs on an on-going basis related to operational aspects of the park.
Mining & Reclamation:
Click here information about the Mather & Cruicible Mine "Gob Pile" Cleanup and Land Reclamation.
Mine Damage Reports:
Ryerson Station Dam Interim Report This interim report contains the first stage of the Department of Environmental Protection’s (DEP) investigation of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) claim of mine subsidence damage to the Ryerson Station Dam. Also view:
(Exhibit 1) (Exhibit 2) and (Exhibit 3).