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Coal Resources Available for Development - A Methodology and Pilot Study

By Jane R. Eggleston1, M. Devereux Carter1, and James C. Cobb2
U.S. Geological Survey, Reston, VA 20192, 2Kentucky Geological Survey, Lexington, KY.


The methodology developed to determine available coal resources was applied to the Matewan 7.5-minute quadrangle, Pike County, Ky. During the pilot study, some plans and expectations were revised after mining engineers and regulatory officials were consulted. After a number of difficulties were worked out in the computer programs and in the project in general, some "streamlining" of the original methodology was accomplished, and the methodology is now available for additional studies. While results from the Matewan quadrangle are useful, it is estimated that the methodology must be applied to approximately 15 to 20 additional 7.5-minute quadrangles in the central Appalachian region before meaningful results for the entire region (fig. 4) can be obtained. However, on the basis of these initial studies, it appears that the quantity of coal available for mining is considerably less than the total remaining resource. For the Matewan quadrangle, technological restrictions appear to be the most critical limiting factor on coal availability.

To quantify the Nation's available coal resources particularly the amount of available low-sulfur (compliance) coal resources-investigations must be conducted in coal regions throughout the United States. Results of this continuing research could have far-reaching implications for U.S. coal policy and energy planning.


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