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Coal Resources Available for Development, Matewan Quadrangle, Eastern Kentucky

M. Devereux Carter, James C. Cobb, Jane R. Eggleston, Nancy K. Gardner

The Matewan quadrangle, Pike County, Kentucky, was selected for a cooperative coal-resource pilot study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Kentucky Geological Survey. The purpose of the study was to determine the coal resources actually available for mining. After calculating original and remaining resources, coal that would be lost because of cultural, environmental, and technological restrictions was quantified.

The U.S. Geological Survey's National Coal Resources Data System (NCRDS) serves as the repository for the geologic, mining, and restriction-related data in this study. Original coal resources calculated in this study compared favorably with those calculated in earlier studies. After digitizing areas of past and present surface and underground mines, tonnages mined and lost in mining were subtracted from the original resource figures to determine the remaining coal resource for each coal bed. Tonnages lost by restrictions that further limit the availability of coal for surface and underground mining were then computed and subtracted to determine available coal resources.

Preliminary findings indicate that approximately 62% of the original resource is currently available for mining. Of the available coal, approximately 44% fits the standard for compliance coal. Of the original resource, 23% is restricted by technological factors, 13% has been mined out, and 2% is restricted by cultural and environmental factors. Additional studies are being undertaken in Kentucky, West Virginia, and Virginia to determine if these preliminary calculations are representative of the central Appalachian region.

AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91031©1988 AAPG Eastern Section, Charleston, West Virginia, 13-16 September 1988.