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New Coal Mine May Be Coming to Mon. County

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  • Andrew Clay

    Andrew Clay

    Andrew is the Monongalia and Preston County reporter, as well as a Sports reporter.

BLACKSVILLE -

A new mine could be on its way to northern West Virginia.

Tuesday night at the Clay-Batelle High School, members of the community gathered to discuss the potential for a new coal mine just west of Wadestown in Monongalia County.

"First of all we have to get the permit before we can move along with the project, and for the project to move forward there's a lot of different variables that come into play," said Charles Shaynak of CONSOL Energy. "For our company, the biggest thing is Market conditions, will there be demand for the coal in the future so it is necessary for us to put the mine in?"

The Mason Dixon Mining Complex could potentially be the newest coal mine in Monongalia County, spanning west of Wadestown near the Wetzel County line. 

Wolfpen Knob Development Company, a subsidiary of CONSOL energy wants to build the mine.

The US Army Corps of Engineering held Tuesday's meeting as a step in their environmental impact survey for the proposed mine.

Meetings like these are used by the corps to understand public concerns, and look for factors the Corps may not have considered.

"What we are looking for is comments from the public here," said Jon Coleman of the Army Corps of Engineering. "And these comments are letting us know some factors that we are maybe not looking into, that we're not reviewing or maybe missed in the scope of all are other actions."

More than 120 people attended the meeting, which saw presentations by both the corps and Wolfpen Knob.

The proposed mine's permit would span about 3,200 acres, and could produce more than 500 jobs at the work site alone, according to CONSOL.

The corps of engineering said the large size of the proposed mine brings with it a number of environmental concerns, but perhaps the largest one being the disruption of nearby waterways.

"Stream-fills essentially, and wetland fills," Coleman said. "To be really specific about it, it depends on what portion of the project we'd be talking about. It's a, It's a really large mining complex that pretty much has every component of a mining complex."

As to be expected with any mine, there was concern at the meeting about environmental issues, as well as a number of other wide-ranging concerns.

On the flip side, there appears to also be support coming from the community.