Having accurate and easy to access online information on current
and past mine usage is the goal of Kentucky's Mine Mapping Information System. Benefiting
citizens, businesses and local and state governments, this cooperative electronic
mine mapping application features multiple layers of useful data to help:
- Identifying underground voids enhances safety of miners
- Enhanced safety for oil and gas drillers
- Mine blowout prevention, mine fires and subsidence control
- Aid citizens and businesses in evaluating construction land use
- Tool for transportation corridor selection
- Facilitate construction feasibility studies
- Reduce the extent and cost of exploratory drilling
- Greatly reduce research time and travel to Frankfort
- Assist state policy makers and local planners
- Improve monitoring of the coalfield environment
- Identify potential sources of pH water quality problems
- Use maps to target abandoned mine land remediation
- Underground mines are potential sources of potable water.
- Aid in assessing potential for sediment run-off
- Develop model of anticipated pH values
- Facilitate development of pollutant reduction plans
- Aid in planning water and sewer line extensions
- Raise public awareness and encourage citizen involvement
- Aid volunteer citizen water monitoring such as Water Watch
- Utilize VISTA volunteer staff to do field verification
- Enhance watershed study sampling strategies
- Reduce the cost of research
||Detail of Benefits
Maintain a Safer Workplace
Mine safety is one of the major benefits of the Internet accessible digital mine maps. These maps provide easily
accessible reference to past and current mining activities. They provide a tool to determine adjacent mining in
the same seam as well as mining in seams above and below the seam where mining is actually taking place.
Serious safety problems may be created by over-mining and undermining as well as mining too close horizontally
to a pre-existing mine void. Since all individual paper mine maps existing at the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and
Licensing (OMSL) have not been completely compiled, it is difficult to ascertain the extent of
mining activity in a given area. The digital mine maps are composite mine outlines for both the eastern and
western Kentucky coals fields that provide a link to a scanned image of the most current mine map or the
actual mine map on file at the OMSL.
Safety is also a key issue with the oil and gas industry. Access to these maps provides a mechanism that may
prevent inadvertently drilling a well in the vicinity of an active mine. Documented oil and gas well locations
have been added to this application and provide guidance to avoid the dangerous
incidence of mining into an existing oil or gas well. If one life is saved as a result of this project, it is
worth the time and effort that it has taken to develop it. Other related safety issues that benefit
include construction, mine blowout prevention, mine fires, and subsidence control.
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Improve Economic Development
For Kentucky to have an advantage over surrounding states in attracting new businesses and jobs to the
commonwealth, it is important that the process for evaluating and purchasing land be as trouble-free as possible.
That includes easy-to-access and accurate underground mapping tools. Knowledge of underground disturbances
may be a key in selecting sites and estimating development costs. With existing paper maps, it is very difficult
for the average person to know how underground mining relates to surface features since these maps seldom show
surface topography. The Mine Mapping project provides an easy-to-use, Internet accessible interface allowing
the average person to locate the area of their interest and identify what mining has occurred beneath it. Local,
state, and federal regulators use the electronic mine maps to monitor business and developmental activities. Residential and commercial builders and
developers and mining companies use them in their efforts to minimize environmental damage. In addition, the maps
are used for feasibility studies to determine if potential residential, commercial, or industrial
projects should even be constructed at specific locations. Coal resources and reserves can be clearly depicted,
aiding in long range state-wide economic planning. Land management companies can use them to plan efficient mining
practices and commercial usage reclamation.
Transportation systems designers and builders in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet use the electronic mine map information as important tools in
potential corridor selection as well as the subsequent alignment valuations. Access to these maps is a
valuable tool to aid efficiency within the Cabinet's project development process.
Once the multiple phase project is fully implemented, it will show all of the detailed historic mine maps. Access
to this information will potentially reduce the amount of exploratory drilling for construction projects required
to identify these underground works.
Users of the system will benefit by being able to view outlines of mine maps of each coal seam in eastern and
western Kentucky and associate each to the actual mine map on file at the OMSL or to a scanned image of the map.
Research time will be reduced considerably because of the compiled mine outline map. After all the mine maps
are scanned and available, most research can be done online instead of at the OMSL office.
Research programs are being proposed to design mining technology to safely and efficiently develop thin coal
seams in eastern Kentucky. In order to delineate specific criteria for such systems, information on seam
thickness and elevation variation must be assessed from existing mine data. The online Mine Map Information
System will greatly increase the efficiency of this task, reducing the costs of conducting the research.
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Protect the Environment
The Mine Mapping application greatly enhances the ability of the Kentucky Division of Water, Watershed Management
Branch and their stakeholders to target remediation strategies of acid mine drainage and abandoned mine lands
sites. Specifically, when targeting watersheds for remediation, the Division of Water can quickly
identify the geographically associated potential sources of metals and pH problems. This greatly reduces the
hundreds of hours of state employee time spent going through manual map files and encourages greater
stakeholder and citizen involvement through the ease of access to the data.
The total maximum daily load (TMDL) section in the Division of Water can use the information to help delineate
abandoned mine lands (AML) associated with both surface and underground operations. This aids in the
development of sediment run-off values, particularly the Tug Fork watershed of the Big Sandy River, impacted by
the Martin County coal slurry discharge of 2001. Location and area data can be used to further investigate the
contribution of AML sites to sediment loading. Mining data can be combined with other data sources to yield the
needed information. The data from this project may also help in the development of pH TMDLs from AML sources in
the western Kentucky coalfield.
TMDL is a federally mandated requirement in the Clean Water Act. It requires states to develop TMDLs for waters
they list as not meeting intended uses, such as swimming or sustaining aquatic life. The TMDL process determines
what reductions in pollutants from various sources are necessary to improve water quality so that the intended
use can be restored.
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Improve Water Quality and Accessibility
Currently old underground mines are sources of drinking water for some large and small communities in eastern
Kentucky. The Mine Mapping Information System benefits ongoing research to identify mines with the necessary
characteristics for use as municipal water supplies.
Citizen groups who are conducting water monitoring in mining areas will now be able to do more scientific
selection of sampling sites and more scientific analysis of the results, assisting the public and water quality
experts to better understand the watersheds in these areas.
These watershed-sampling groups (Watershed Watch and Watershed Action Teams) are generally volunteer groups
with budgets that cover only sampling-related costs (such as delivering sampling containers and laboratory
expenses). Neither travel expenses, nor time, are available for them to obtain location information. Accessing this
information over the Internet to plan a sampling strategy improves their ability to study watersheds and provides
education to themselves and their communities.
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Increase Public Awareness and Involvement
Resource estimates are performed periodically by state and federal agencies to assess the extent and character
of Kentucky's remaining coal resources. This information is essential for state policy makers and local planners.
One aspect of these studies involves the characterization of depleted resources. Historically, this information has
been difficult to obtain and the results have been inaccurate. The Mine Mapping system allows up-to-date and
accurate assessments of mined out areas, and greatly reduces the effort required to do so.
Volunteer groups including the VISTA volunteers, agency staff, and other stakeholders can quickly and easily use
the mine maps along with other available information to determine if a site may be causing water quality impairment.
This analysis can be followed up by targeted field studies.
Patrons of the Kentucky Office of Mine Safety and Licensing paper Mine Map Repository are saving time and money. They
are now able to research mined out areas and obtain the maps they need over the Internet, thus saving a trip to
Frankfort. Before the availability of online maps, the average customer spent two to three hours in travel time each way from eastern or western Kentucky.
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