A mine in Knox County, in Southwestern Indiana, is in the process of shutting down its operations. St. Louis based Peabody Energy Corporation owns the Air Quality mine, just east Vincennes.
At its peak 230 people worked here. The mine stopped coal removal operations last week and has begun a process of environmental restoration called reclamation.
Department of Natural Resources mine inspector Brad Loveless is overseeing the restoration. He holds the mine company accountable for making sure it complies with a restoration contract it agreed to more than 20 years ago.
“They’ve given us a map showing their post-mining land use for every acre of this facility,” he says. “And they’ll be responsible for restoring it to that land use. If it’s crop land, we’ll monitor the production from that crop land – make sure it makes as good as or better than pre-mining.”
The mine opened in 1991, and many local farmers have come to rely on income brought in by leasing their land to the coal company. In some cases those leases could continue for a few more years before they expire.
A Peabody spokesperson says the company is doing its best to re-locate the mineworkers to nearby facilities.