Anthracite is the cleanest solid fossil fuel known to man. It is almost pure carbon, with very low sulphur and volatile content, meaning it burns virtually smoke and emission free. It is by far one of the most environmentally sound fuels available.
As well as the environmentally friendly credentials of the product Stockton sells, Atlantic Carbon Group takes its responsibility towards the local environment very seriously. The coalfield regions of Pennsylvania are plagued by a legacy of both deep and surface mining stretching back 200 years as many pits were abandoned once accessible reserves were exhausted, and beyond that the processes involved in mining have damaged the landscape significantly. Modern opencast mining revisits such areas and ensures that the task of mining them is completed properly with full reclamation of worked out areas.
Atlantic Carbon Group’s operations in Pennsylvania are fully bonded, meaning the Company has already paid the cost of reclamation to Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in the form of a protected bond. On top of this a percentage of the cost of each ton of anthracite sold is given to a federal fund set up to reclaim abandoned mines and pit areas. In this way the landscape is being restored, and the legacy left by historical anthracite mining repaired.
At our Stockton mine, current mine reclamation is practised with continual backfilling – as the overburden is removed from the pit it is taken to a disposal area in a previously mined section. Backfilled areas are restored to slightly above original contours and the terrain is returned to its original landform, following which grass seed is laid down and trees are planted. Improvements allow for natural streams to flow over the land in place of the abandoned mining tunnels currently directing water flow. Ponds and wetlands are created and wildlife is able to flourish. 100 acres have already been reclaimed in this way at Stockton, and at Gowen Mine over 500 acres of mining dereliction were reclaimed by the Company.
RESPONSIBLE MINING: ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL IMPACT ON THE LOCAL COMMUNITY
As a company we believe it is important to not just consider our environmental impact on the area we are mining but also the impact we have on the local community. We are committed to providing long-term, good employment prospects for local workers and school-leavers especially, and ensure that through both voluntary work and financial assistance that we can offer ongoing support to local community initiatives.
- Atlantic Carbon Group brings major economic benefits to the Hazleton region of Pennsylvania through direct and contracted employment ($6.6 million) and the purchase of goods and services from local suppliers ($9 million).
- For a primary industry such as mining the ‘multiplier effect’ on the local economy is generally recognised to be somewhere between 2 and 3 times direct spend, making our total contribution to the local community between $30 million and $45 million Stockton mine currently provides employment for 78 local people in reliable jobs with good pay and benefits.
- As part of our expansion plans we are looking to double our workforce in the next two years, We are involved with an initiative with schools in the Hazleton Area Schools District to educate young people in the opportunities we have to offer, and to facilitate training for the skills we need. Already following on from this initiative we have recently offered a job at Stockton to a Hazleton High school leaver.
- Coal Contractors is leading a fundraising initiative on behalf of Eckley Miners’ Village(a living museum near Hazleton demonstrating the everyday lives of the occupants of a 19th Century coal mining “patch town”) to restore a historic coal breaker in the village. We hope to preserve an important part of local history for future generations by restoring the breaker.
- On January 6th 2015, Coal Contractors hosted a showing of Billy Elliott at Eckley Miners’ Village as part of this fundraising initiative, donating $30 to the cause for each attendee. Coal Contractors supports the local Greater Hazleton Rails-To-Trails project which is reclaiming derelict railroads and converting them to valuable recreational assets for the local community. We provided heavy plant, equipment and drivers to assist with the construction of the Hazleton network.