Public open house set for PA mine

THE Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection is participating in an open house event this week for a planned underground mine in western Pennsylvania.

Donna Schmidt

Latrobe-headquartered Amfire Mining will join the DEP to discuss its plans for a bituminous room and pillar operation in the South Mahoning and West Mahoning townships of Indiana County to be known as the Ainsley mine.

The mine as proposed will comprise 62 surface acres and underground mining would extend for 4367 acres.

Amfire is controlled by Alpha Natural Resources.

Amfire technical services manager Robert Bottegal said that it took extra steps to make sure people were aware of the meeting, which would allow for input from the public at large.

DEP spokesman John Poister added it was part of the required DEP process for a mining permit application approval.

“We have not begun the process of fully reviewing their application,” he told large regional paper the Tribune Review. “That’s going to take some time.”

Bottegal told the paper the timing of the mine’s opening would hinge largely on the market for met coal, and it would have more than a year in the permit process before it was even approved.

Once open, coal from Ainsley will travel by truck to a railroad line, where it will join output from Amfire’s other six active underground mines in Cambria, Indiana and Jefferson counties.

The DEP has not revealed the surface owner of the proposed mine.

Copies of the mine application are available for viewing at Amfire’s offices in Latrobe as well as at the DEP’s California District Mining Office in Coal Center.

The meeting will take place tomorrow at the Little Mahoning Bible Conference grounds in Smicksburg.

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