News Release 647

Citizen assistance requested to locate underground coal mine maps
Maps will be scanned and entered into national database

Volume 38-647 (For Immediate Release)
For more information: 573-751-1010

ROLLA, MO, NOV. 15, 2010 – As part of a continuing effort to protect citizens and expand its existing database of abandoned underground coal mines, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources is seeking help from Missouri citizens and industry in locating historic maps of abandoned underground coal mines.

Recently, the program received funding from the Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining, to investigate, collect and scan maps of underground coal mines to make the national inventory of Missouri mine lands as complete as possible.  

“Missouri was the first state west of the Mississippi to produce coal commercially, in 1840 and it is important that we know as much as possible about past underground operations for the safe development of our state,” said Joe Gillman, state geologist and Division of Geology and Land Survey director. “We presently have approximately 1,000 coal mine maps in our database. However, we believe maps may exist that would enable us to have a more robust database which would greatly benefit the public. Thanks to this grant from the Office of Surface Mining, we are now in a position to make a difference. So now, we’re asking for any information the public may have to assist us in this effort.”

Safety issues are the greatest concern regarding abandoned underground coal mines. They can cause subsidence (natural collapse) at the ground surface and potentially damage homes and buildings, roads and other infrastructure.

Since commercial production began in Missouri, thousands of mines were created and developed, primarily in the counties within the state’s coal region. Some activities were small, family operations whose maps may be treasured heirlooms that have been passed down to family members. Others may reside in county courthouses, libraries, historical societies and at other locations throughout the state. 

Donated or loaned maps are scanned at high resolution, color, archive quality images and entered into the department’s archive. The electronic file is also sent to the Pennsylvania-based Office of Surface Mining for inclusion in the National Mine Map Repository. Maps that are donated will be scanned, cataloged and housed at the department’s Rolla facility. Those loaned for scanning will be scanned, cataloged and returned to their owners.

If you have a map of an underground coal mine in Missouri and would like to participate in this national effort please contact project lead, Cheryl Seeger at 573-368-2100. The project is in effect through Sept. 30, 2011. Visit this website for additional information


Editor: Illustration can be found at /newsrel/images/mocoalregions.jpg.

Caption: Missouri coal deposits are indicated by dark shading. Major coal fields (past and present) are depicted in light gray. The public is being asked for assistance in locating underground coal mine maps to be scanned and entered into a national database.