Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Last Gasp for Coal Mining In Washington

  
John Henry 1 coal mine and processing in Black Diamond

Coal mining came to an end in Washington State with the closure of the Centralia Coal Mine in 2006. The John Henry 1 Mine in aptly named Black Diamond has not operated since 1997 but has recently applied to reopen and in the process finish some reclamation. The Environmental Assessment (JHM_EA.pdf) is currently in the public comment period. The John Henry 1 Mine has a contract to supply coal for cement production to a Richmond BC concrete company and hopes to perhaps sell coal for cement production in Seattle. In addition to the coal seam that the mine intends to exploit, the formation also contains a seam of clay that is also used in concrete formulations.

3 comments:

Jim Lazar said...

Coal is used in the making of cement, not in the making of concrete. Cement is then used, with sand and aggregate, to make concrete.

The reason coal is used is that it burns much hotter than oil or natural gas.

Even in California, which claims no "coal plants" there are 24 installation that burn solid carboniferous fuel; some is for making cement, and much is using petroleum coke (the carbon residue after they have stripped all the hydrocarbons off).

Dan McShane said...

Thanks Jim. I was careless in my concrete/cement terms. And you are correct about coal use outside of power plants.

63alfred said...

Dear Dan,

Recently your blog has been a regular visit of mine. Thanks for all the information. On the subject of the coal mine, I wonder how it is economically feasible for this to even consider operating considering the large deposits and coal operations in Montana. This is of course if they are using the same time of coal. My grandfathers were coal miners back in Pennsylvania for most of the the first part of the 20th century (black lung and all that as they mined it with picks and hauled it out on the back of donkeys). I always heard them talk of "soft coal" (Bituminous) mined in the western part of the state and the much better "hard" coal (high carbon Anthracite) mined in the eastern part of the state. I still remember their coal burning stove and the piles of coal in their basement. Beautiful "hard" coal with a high luster.