Submitted by The Red Hills Mine
The Red Hills Mine(RHM) is owned and operated by the Mississippi Lignite Mining Company, a subsidiary of The North American Coal Corporation. Mine development began in 1998 with commercial lignite delivery beginning in early 2002. RHM coal production is approximately 3.6 million tons-per-year, requiring the mining and reclamation of approximately 100 acres of land each year. The mined lignite fuels an adjacent440-megawatt power plant. RHM was the first surface lignite mine in Mississippi.
The Red Hills Mine’s mining method involves the removal of 6 different lignite seams by the removing the overburden soil and inter-burden soils separating the seams. Topsoil, subsoil and overburden materials are removed by a combination of truck and shovel operations, dozer push operations and an 82 cubic yard dragline. In general, the truck and shovel operations remove the upper soils and overburden to the first lignite seam. Eight hundred and fifty horsepower dozers uncover the next 3 lignite seams by pushing the inter-burden into the preceding pit. The last 2 seams are uncovered by the dragline. As lignite seams are exposed, they are recovered using a 22 cubic yard track hoe or a surface miner to load 165-ton end dump trucks for direct delivery to the power plant.
Reclamation and re-vegetation operations involves hauling and grading the overburden to a gently rolling approximate original contour, spreading the overburden landscape with 4-feet of soil, stabilizing drainage bottoms, seeding of grasses and grains to stabilize the reclaimed landscape and planting loblolly pines and mixed hardwoods to achieve the desired post-mine forest land use.
Prime farmland topsoil occurs on limited areas ahead of mining. Wherever it is encountered, RHM picks up the topsoil and replaces it in the reclamation. State and Federal mine regulations require RHM to grow a crop on the reclaimed prime farmland to prove that it is as productive as it was prior to mining. RHM recently reclaimed 60 acres of reconstructed prime farmland and planted a Bermuda grass hayfield. Approximately 40 of those acres were ready to cut for hay during the summer of 2014. RHM contributes to the community in many ways. Direct financial contributions are made to various organizations and indirect contributions of time and assistance are also given. As a part of the community support effort and as of today, RHM has cut 161 bales of top quality Bermuda grass hay from the reclaimed prime farmlands and donated it to several charities including the Camp of the Rising Son in French Camp, Central Hills in Kosciusko, and Camp Lake Forest in Macon. Maximum effort will be made by RHM to continue these contributions as our reclamation efforts progress.
Red Hills Mine has an open door policy to the public – as long as the weather is good, tours of the mining and reclamation activities are available.