Mining waste (or coal refuse) is the toxic legacy of centuries of coal mining – brought from underground and discarded in mountainous piles. It is estimated that over 800 mining waste piles cover Pennsylvania soil, polluting the environment through acid mine drainage, spontaneous fires, and harmful emissions. We own two circulating fluidized bed (CFB) mining waste reclamation and power generation facilities that remove mining waste and convert it into electricity. The byproduct is beneficial use ash, most of which is returned to mining waste sites to balance the soil and facilitate vegetation. We operate in partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to reclaim and return previously unusable land to local communities.
Mining Waste – An Environmental Disaster in Pennsylvania
Mining waste piles combust through oxidation and lightning strikes – nearly 7 million tons of mining waste burn each year in Pennsylvania in unintended, uncontrolled fires, releasing about 9 million tons of CO2 and other pollutants without any emissions control. Acid mine drainage from mining waste piles is among the two largest known water pollutants in Pennsylvania, impairing over 5,500 miles of waterways, poisoning aquatic life, and turning rivers orange. Due to the harm these piles pose, mining waste, or “waste coal,” is classified as a Tier II renewable energy source by the state of Pennsylvania, on par with a major hydro plant. We receive alternative energy credits and waste coal tax credits.
We have reclaimed over 1,050 acres of land.