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Shoal Creek Mine

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This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.

Shoal Creek Mine is an underground mine owned by Drummond Company located near the central portion of the Warrior Coal Basin in Adger, Alabama. It is the largest coal mine in Alabama and one of the largest underground facilities in the country.[1]

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The operation stretches across three counties – Jefferson, Tuscaloosa and Walker. The mine's main portal and preparation plant is in Jefferson County, 45 miles from Birmingham. The operations have access to truck, rail and river transportation systems, including water access to ports in Mobile, Alabama and New Orleans, Louisiana. The mine produces a medium-volatile, low-sulfur metallurgical coal, exported globally through the Port of Mobile, Alabama. The coal is mined underground using both longwall and continuous mining operations. The preparation plant is a 2,000-ton per hour jig plant, capable of washing over 11 million raw tons of coal per year.[1]

The mine is up to 1,300 feet deep at places, and crosses beneath the main course of the Warrior River. The mine requires constant pumping, using 168 pumps to remove over 18 million gallons per day, which is returned to the river downstream. In 2002 two "Synfuel" plants were built at Shoal Creek to wash and process the coal.[2]

Workers at Shoal Creek are unionized and members of the United Mine Workers of America, Local 2133. In 2005 the mine employed 819 miners in three shifts, seven days a week, producing an average of 12,000 tons of washed coal per day. However, in Spring 2009 Drummond laid off 56 miners from the mine and started operating on a four-day work week.[3]

The mine was the site of a series of methane gas explosions beginning on February 24, 2006, which caused significant flooding and other damage to the operation. The company announced in December 2006 that it would idle the mine on December 6, laying off 455 workers.[4] In February 2007 the mine was re-opened. Two other incidents in June, one causing damage to an underground wall and one, a lightning strike which injured five workers, prompted brief closures.[5]

Mine Data

  • MSHA ID: 102901
  • Operator: Drummond Company
  • Owner: Drummond Company
  • Location: 8488 Nancy Ann Bend Rd, Adger, AL 35006-2232
  • GPS coordinates: 33.486937,-87.265563
  • Production: 1.3 million tons (2007)
  • Type of coal: Medium-volatile, low-sulfur metallurgical coal
  • Mine type: Underground
  • Equipment: Longwall and continuous mining operations
  • Number of employees: 360

Contact Information

Drummond Co., Inc.
P.O. Box 10246
Birmingham, Alabama 35202
Tel: (205) 945-6300

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Operations: Coal: Shoal Creek" Drummond Company website, November 2009
  2. "Shoal Creek Mine" BhamWiki, November 2009
  3. Patrick Rupinski, "Alabama miners nervous about the future of coal", "Tuscaloosa News", May 17, 2009.
  4. "Drummond Co. to idle Shoal Creek Mine, lay off 455 union workers." Birmingham Business Journal, December 4, 2006
  5. Bob Sims, "Updated: Lightning strike at Shoal Creek mine injures 6" The Birmingham News, June 27, 2007