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Coal Mine Decommissioning/Site Reclamation: Development Activities and Resource Requirements

Decommissioning and site reclamation activities include removal of mining infrastructure, filling in of the mine area, and revegetation.

Decommissioning of a coal mine would include removal of structures, conveyor systems, and rail lines, if used, and the filling in of the mine area. Site reclamation, including recontouring and revegetation, would mitigate some impacts, such as soil erosion, habitat fragmentation, and visual impacts.

The following describes the factors that could affect whether an environmental impact could occur and whether it would be considered an adverse effect.

  • Acreage – The entire land area of the coal mine will be impacted by decommissioning and reclamation activities.

  • Emissions – Fugitive dust would be caused by vehicles and the land disturbance associated with replacing the stockpiled overburden material, recontouring, and replacing topsoil. Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) would result from storage and use of fuels for equipment.

  • Waste Generation -Waste rock and coal refuse would remain after reclamation. Solid and industrial wastes would be similar to those from the construction and mining phase.

  • Water Needs –Water would be needed for dust suppression, fire-fighting contingency, and potable supply for the workforce.

  • Workforce –A smaller workforce would be required during decommissioning and reclamation than during development.

  • Time – Site monitoring and maintenance activities may be required for several years to ensure that site reclamation goals have been achieved.

  • Utility Requirements – Utility needs would vary depending on location and action being conducted; use of portable electric generators is possible.