With increased public and environmental awareness, and the introduction of reclamation and environmental laws over the last few decades, mining practices have changed to reduce or mitigate environmental impacts. Many nations, particularly those with a long history of coal mining, have rules and regulations tailored for the mining industry. Millions of dollars are spent annually in regulatory compliance efforts which include reclamation activities at surface mines. In contrast to their predecessors, mine operators in many nations are required to meet regulatory compliance in all phases of the operation. Governmentally approved mining and reclamation plans must be filed prior to opening a coal mine. Within the United States, reclamation is required by both state law and by the federal Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA). Governmental regulations are in force to minimize the effect coal utilization have on our air, land, and water. For example, the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments in the United States have given utilities until the year 2000 to reduce the emissions of SO2 to a maximum of 0.54 kg (1.2 lb) per million Btu (British Thermal Unit). In addition, international global warming conferences, such as those held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Kyoto, Japan in 1997, will undoubtedly have a future impact on the mining business and world economies.
Figures & Tables
This volume of the “Atlas of Coal Geology” provides 393 images on various subject matters related to coal deposits and coal resource utilization. The supporting text provides an introductory overview of coal exploration, mining, and coalbed methane (CBM) development, followed by discussions on various megascopic aspects of coal geology (microscopic aspects are covered in Volume 2). Because of the vast subject matter, many generalities had to be made in the text. References are included to guide those interested to more detailed discussions. All citations within the document are linked to the detailed reference list for this volume. The overriding theme for this publication is that a picture is worth a thousand words.