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KET Coal Mine Field Trip Questions & Answers


Shelley Loze, Memorial Elementary School:
Where can you surface mine -- on mountains, plains, what?

Yes, you can surface mine at both mountains or plains in both Eastern and Western Kentucky coal fields. Due to quality and ratio of the seam to overburden thickness, you could surface mine coal up to a depth of 120 ft. deep. In Pulaski County in 1994, there was no coal production.
Don Bowles, Charolais Corp.


Melissa Thornsbury, Caney Creek Elementary School:
What are the dangers of surface mining?

All surface miners are trained and retrained each year, with 16 hours of initial training and 8 hours of annual retraining. They are exposed to high-voltage electricity, large heavy equipment, working year-round with different weather conditions, and handling of explosives; mechanics work with large engines, welding, and cutting; and workers and operators deal with large pits and high walls from the surface mining method. All surface mines are regularly inspected by state and federal inspectors. See pages 12 and 13 in the Kentucky Coal Facts book.
Don Bowles, Charolais Corp.


Jessica Thomas, Caney Creek Elementary School:
What is the best way to transport coal?

The most economical way to transport coal is by conveyor belt. The next is barge, then rail, then truck up to 75 miles in distance. However, most mines have to utilize a combination of all of the above due to the mine location and destination of the market.
Don Bowles, Charolais Corp.


Emily Musterman, Memorial Elementary School:
Is coal from deep mines different from strip mine?

If both operations, surface and deep mining, are mining the same seam, the coal from the deep mine would be smaller in size due to the different type of mining equipment.
Don Bowles, Charolais Corp.


Allison Becker, Beechwood Elementary School:
Does it take longer to get coal from a surface or deep mine?

When you start to develop a mining operation, it would take longer to get coal from an underground mine than it would a surface operation.
Don Bowles, Charolais Corp.


Teri Miller, Hattie C. Warner Elementary School:
What do you do to make sure coal doesn't hurt the environment?

The environment is highly protected with state and federal regulations, the first phase being passed in the 1970s. These laws protect the air, water, land, animals, and people. All mining companies have to abide by these regulations.
Don Bowles, Charolais Corp.


4th Grade Class, Hindman Elementary School:
Seth, Hindman Elementary School:
Who is responsible for reclamation?

The mining companies pay for the reclamation on their mine sites. Each mining company also pays a federal tax which reclaims abandoned and pre-law mining sites. There is approximately $1 billion in this fund. The Kentucky coal industry has paid in more than $625 million to the AML fund since 1978. Also, to ensure successful reclamation, the Kentucky coal mining industry has $768 million in reclamation bonds.
Don Bowles, Charolais Corp.


Telisha Hennade, Shopville Elementary School:
What is the income of a dragline operator?

The average income per year would be $45,000-$50,000.
Don Bowles, Charolais Corp.


John Jenkins, Dixon Elementary:
How much coal is picked up in surface mining a day?

At Charolais Corp. we mine 8,000 tons per day. For Eastern Kentucky, there were 50.2 million tons per year from surface mining and from Western Kentucky, 14.9 million tons, for a total of 65.1 million tons. See page 9 of the 95-96 Kentucky Coal Facts book for additional information.
Don Bowles, Charolais Corp.


Eric Bash, McNabb Elementary:
Where is the biggest coal mine in the U.S.?

The coal mine with the most production is the Thunder Basin Coal Co. (ARCO, parent company) Black Thunder mine located in Campbell County in Wyoming. In 1994, they produced 31,651,762 tons.
Dennis McCully, Kentucky Coal Marketing


Tanzy, Caney Creek Elementary:
How much of Kentucky's economy is based on mining?

The Kentucky coal industry has a huge impact on the state's economy. Please see pages 17 and 18 of the 1995-96 Kentucky Coal Facts Pocket Guide book for more information on economic impacts to the state.
Dennis McCully, Kentucky Coal Marketing


Pierce Calyer, Rogers Elementary:
Can coal be turned into anything but fuel?

Yes, coal is used to manufacture many products that you use every day.
Dennis McCully, Kentucky Coal Marketing


4th Grade Class, Hindman Elementary:
How many coal fields are there all around the world?

When you talk about coal fields around the world there would be too many to list.
Dennis McCully, Kentucky Coal Marketing


Kayla Cook, Beckham Bates Elementary:
How much money do miners make per week?
Thomas Mack Cornett, Whitehall Elementary:
How much do you get paid each day to dig coal?
Brittany Horn, Tomahawk Elementary:
What is the average salary for a coal miner?

The average weekly wage for a miner in Kentucky is $751.30 x 52 weeks = $39,067.60/year divided by 300 days (average) = $130.23/day. The average weekly wage in Martin Co. is $903.76/week x 52 weeks = $46,995/year. See page 14 of the Kentucky Coal Facts Pocket Guide book.
Dennis McCully, Kentucky Coal Marketing


Chris Denson, Phelps Elementary:
How many tons of coal have been found in Kentucky to date?

I am assuming by "found" you mean mined. Records of coal production in Kentucky have been maintained since 1790. The first commercial mine was in 1820 in Muhlenberg County in Western Kentucky. In Western Kentucky, from 1790 to 1994, they have mined more than 2.344 billion tons. In Eastern Kentucky, from 1790 to1994, they have mined more than 4.982 billion tons. The original resources (tons in the ground) for Kentucky: Western Kentucky, 41 billion tons; Eastern Kentucky, 64 billion tons.
Dennis McCully, Kentucky Coal Marketing


Jessie Fouts, Hyden Elementary:
How much coal is used in the U.S. each year?

The U.S. in the last 5 years (1990-1994) has consumed or used the following: 1990, 895 million tons; 1991, 888 million tons; 1992, 892 million tons; 1993, 926 million tons; 1994, 930 million tons. More than 56% of all electricity produced in the U.S. comes from coal.
Dennis McCully, Kentucky Coal Marketing


Mariah Smith, Foley Middle School:
How much coal is mined in Webster County in one year?

1990 -- surface, 2,526,962 + underground,   7,097,529 =   9,624,491 
1991 -- surface, 1,467,099 + underground, 10,727,126 = 12,194,225 
1992 -- surface, 1,356,946 + underground, 11,235,808 = 12,592,754 
1993 -- surface, 1,545,132 + underground, 11,955,552 = 13,500,684 
1994 -- surface, 1,014,263 + underground, 10,287,619 = 11,301,882 

Webster County has been the #1 producing county in Western Kentucky for the last four years.



Alan Tuttle, Harrison County Middle School:
Larry Baldwin, Harrison County Middle School:
How long before coal becomes an endangered resource?

Coal is a non-renewable fossil fuel. The Western Kentucky Coal Field has more than 54 billion tons of remaining resources. Some of these tons will never be recoverable (mined). The DRB (demonstrated reserve base) for the United States is more than 474 billion tons. At our current rate of production for the U.S. of almost 1 billion tons per year, we have more than 300 years of coal reserves left in the ground.
Dennis McCulley, Kentucky Coal Marketing and Export Council


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600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502 (859) 258-7000 (800) 432-0951

Last Updated: Thursday, 15-Dec-2005 13:46:37 EST