MATHER GOB PILE
MATHER "GOB PILE" CLEANUP and LAND RECLAMATION
Mather and Cruicible Mines. In 1913, Crucible Mine was the second largest commercial coal mine to be established in the county, with nearby Dilworth Mine being the first, according to G. Wayne Smith's "History of Greene County, PA." At its peak in 1953, the mine employed 903 miners and produced 1.3 million tons of coal. Crucible Mine closed in 1961 and throughout its 49-year life the mine extracted 36.5 million tons of Pittsburgh seam coal.
Abandoned coal-refuse piles continue to dot the landscape of eastern Greene County, legacies of a mining industry that operated for years without regulations to ensure proper cleanup of the sites once mining ended. ~~ But those eyesores are on their way out.
Mather Recovery Systems LLC is in the process of reclaiming the 50-acre Mather coal-refuse pile with the help of a state Growing Greener grant. They began removing fine particles of coal from the site's coal slurry pond in May 1999.
April 2005 ~ Crucible refuse dump, is also in the process of being reclaimed. This project also should be lauded because it is expected to be completed without a subsidy from the taxpayers. A 25-cent-per-ton royalty on coal removed from the pile will, in fact, be paid by the company to the industrial development authority, which is overseeing the project for the county.
Mather gob's Pile ~~ "The Next Step": July 12, 2006 - Greene County Commissioners and the Department of Economic Development and the Conservation District along with members of the Mather community, came together for the purpose of receiving an update on further advancement of the reclamation of the "Gob Pile." Thirty-eight people were in attendance and twenty-seven were Mather residents or representatives for Morgan Township. Commissioner Pam Snyder, herself a resident of Morgan Township, opened the meeting with a welcome and recognized that it was critical to accomplish this project correctly for future generations. She prompted the community to ask questions of the Department of Enviornmental Protection (DEP) and to listen closely as the discussion of the new manufactured soils concept was introducted by Alcoa Corporation. This proposed new soils project will accommodate the use of approximately two-thousand railroad ties that exist on the adjourning property. Joe Simatic, President of the Industrial Development Authority (IDA), defined their role in this process form the beginning. DEP and Alcoa suggested that the soil reclamation process could be completed by October 2007. Residents asked a wide range of questions that dealt with past, current, and future issued related to this project. Questions were answered by DEP, Tom Kovalchuk, Martin NIiverth of the Greene County Conservation District, Dr. F. Of the Alcoa Corporation, and Darlene Urban Carrett, Greene County Department of Economic Development. Also in attendance was Representative William DeWeese and key staff of Senator Barry Stout's office.
August 17, 2006 - Company resumes work at Mather coal refuse site: Mather Recovery Systems Inc. has returned to the Mather coal refuse site to complete some of the reclamation work and prepare the site for winter.
The CLEANUP PROCESS:
Refuse sites, or slate dumps as they are commonly called, are the result of coal cleaning or disposal of roof fall material. Coal cleaning technology has evolved to a point where coal that was once discarded can now be recovered. There are many ways of recovering the coal, but the two most common are screening and washing. Mather Recovery Systems utilizes both of these processes to reclaim the coal within the refuse.
Screening is a mechanical method of separating the refuse from the coal by size. In other words, small coal particles are in a specific size fraction of the total volume. By passing the refuse material across a screening, the process of separating takes place. The screens are available in an almost infinite number of configurations. Generally, the screens are of two types. One is a square screen where the openings in the screen are in the shape of a square. These screens are called square screens and resemble a pattern such as a window screen. The second type of screen has rectangle opening and are referred to by their length and width dimensions. Typically, the initial screen will remove the unusable material, such as large rocks, pieces of rail, mine timbers, and other extraneous material. When the refuse falls to the next screen it is then classified to a size where it is anticipated the coal particles are.
Washing is a method of separating coal from refuse utilizing the principles of specific gravities. When the specific gravity of a material is less than the medium it is in, the material floats. For example, the specific gravity of water is 1.00 and the specific gravity of wood is 0.80. Therefore the wood floats on the water. The same principle applies to coal. If the specific gravity of coal is 1.45, and were placed in a medium with a specific gravity of 1.50, the coal will float. The material with a specific gravity greater than 1.50 will sink and separated from the coal. This material is now known as reject because it has been rejected as coal.