Abstract: Coal Resources in Illinois Available for Efficient, Low-cost Mining
TREWORGY, COLIN G., CHRISTOPHER P. KOROSE*, CHERI A. CHENOWETH, and JAMIE L. MCBETH
Whether Illinois' nearly 200 billion tons of bituminous coal resources play a role in future U.S. coal production depends on their availability and mining cost. Towns, roads, and other surface development restrict access to some coal resources in Illinois, possibly as much as 10 percent of the total resources. Unfavorable geotechnical factors (thin seams, high stripping ratios, poor roof and floor conditions, partings, faults, and small size or irregular geometry of the reserve block) may significantly raise the cost of mining of half or more of the resources. Restrictive land use and unfavorable geotechnical conditions are being identified through interviews with mining companies in a cooperative study by the Illinois State Geological Survey and the USGS. The collective impacts of these factors are being evaluated to determine the prospects for future mining. Although 22 billion tons of surface minable resources have been identified, there are few large blocks with low stripping ratios that are free from surface development.
Future production will likely come mainly from underground minable resources. Preliminary mapping suggests that several tens of billions of tons of underground minable resources remain in large blocks with land use and geotechnical characteristics suitable for efficient, low-cost mining.
AAPG Search and Discovery Article #90939©1997 AAPG Eastern Section and TSOP, Lexington, Kentucky