Coal: Ohio County
Kentucky's first mine, that commercially produced coal, was opened near Paradise, Muhlenberg county, in 1820. Soon afterwards, others began operation, and by the late 1830's nearly 100,000 tons of coal were produced each year form the Kentucky mines.
Coal mining in Kentucky mines in the early days was a dangerous way to make a living, and the pay was not always so good. Most coal miners and their families lived paycheck to paycheck, and many times owed more to the "company store" than they made each payday.
It was a constant struggle, and death came all too often. Over 7,000 miners have lost their lives in the coal mines of Kentucky since 1890. Until the 1960's, when mining deaths began declining, after the average death rate of the 1950's was 69 per year, coal mining was the most dangerous job in Kentucky. In 1969, with the enactment of a comprehensive federal mine safety and health act, deaths of miners began showing a real decline.
Surface mines produced the majority of Kentucky coal until the 1980's, when companies, to avoid reclamation expenses, began abandoning surface mines and turned to underground mining more and more.
The above courtesy of Roger Philpot.
Also see my post dated Thursday, July 19, 2012 on coal mining in Ohio County.
I found an interesting documentary titled “Coal in Kentucky.”
The Rockport web site has some great information about coal mining in the area around Rockport and Echols. Go to that web site and be sure and click on the links to the other pages:
ARMSTRONG COAL COMPANY A/K/A ARMSTRONG ENERGY
Armstrong Energy is a private company formed in 2006 by management and Yorktown Partners LLC to acquire and develop coal reserves in the Illinois Basin. Through a series of coal reserve purchases and leases, Armstrong controls over 570 million tons of proven and probable coal reserves in Western Kentucky.
Armstrong currently operates seven coal mines, three preparation plants, a rail load-out facility and a dock facility on Kentucky's Green River (six mines in Ohio County). In 2013, Armstrong produced 9.3 million tons of coal from its active mines.
The mines in Ohio County (2015) are:
1. Midway mine is a surface mine located near the city of Centertown in Ohio County, Kentucky that extracts steam coal from the West Kentucky #13A, 13 and 11 coal seams. Armstrong has been producing coal at Midway since 2009 utilizing one dragline and the truck-and-shovel mining methods. Midway coal is processed on site at the Midway preparation plant, which has a throughput capacity of 1,200 tons of raw coal per hour and has the ability to blend up to five types of coal using a nuclear analyzer. The Midway mine also has an automated rail loadout facility that can load 2,500 tons of coal per hour via a 150-car rail loop that connects to the P&L and CSX railroads. Midway produced 1.3 million tons of coal in 2013.
2. East Fork mine is a surface mine located near the city of Centertown in Ohio County, Kentucky that extracts steam coal from the West Kentucky #14 coal seam. Armstrong has been producing coal at East Fork since 2009 utilizing the truck-and-shovel mining method. Armstrong trucks East Fork coal to the Armstrong dock preparation plant for processing. East Fork is currently temporarily idled.
3. Equality Boot mine is a surface mine located near the city of Centertown in Ohio County, Kentucky that extracts steam coal from the West Kentucky #14, 13, 12 and 11 coal seams. Armstrong has been producing coal at Equality Boot since the fall of 2010 utilizing two draglines and the truck-and-shovel mining methods. The mine utilizes a 4,400 foot conveyor system to bring coal from the pit to the 2,500 ton-per-hour barge loadout facility on the Green River. Coal is then loaded onto barges and shipped to the Armstrong dock preparation plant for processing. Equality Boot produced 2.7 million tons of coal in 2013.
4. Lewis Creek is a surface mine located in Ohio County, Kentucky that extracts steam coal from the West Kentucky #13A and 13 coal seams. Lewis Creek utilizes one dragline and the truck-and-shovel mining methods. Lewis Creek produced 0.9 million tons of coal in 2013.
5. Kronos mine is an underground mine located near the city of Centertown in Ohio County, Kentucky that extracts steam coal from the West Kentucky #9 coal seam. Kronos utilizes continuous mining units employing room-and-pillar mining techniques. Kronos produced 2.6 million tons of coal in 2013.
6. Lewis Creek mine is an underground mine located in Ohio County, Kentucky, near Rockport, that extracts steam coal from the West Kentucky #9 coal seam. Lewis Creek produced 0.5 million tons of coal in 2013.
The Armstrong dock and preparation plant facilities are located on Kentucky's Green River near Armstrong's Ohio County mines and consist of a barge loading and unloading facility and a preparation plant. The loading facility is capable of loading 2,500 tons per hour onto barges on the Green River. The Armstrong preparation plant is a 1,200 raw ton per hour facility capable of blending up to five different types of coal via a nuclear analyzer.