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 Post subject: Anthracite Editorials
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 4:14 pm 
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Location: NEPA
Within the last month or so Earl Kiefer past president of the Independant Miners and Associates, Alfred J Brown owner of Alfred Brown Coal Co., and Myself have written short editorial type articles on the Importance of the Anthracite industry, not only to ourselves but also to the Nation. I'll put them all up as time permits but I'll start with mine first.



A BRIGHT FUTURE IN THE ANTHRACITE



CLOSED



I have always been interested in Anthracite coal mining my whole life. Growing up in a community where coal mining is a way of life nertured this interest as i grew older. It finally reached a breaking point 5 years ago when I became a volunteer at the No. 9 Mine in Lansford PA. My idea was maybe if I volunteer at the No. 9 I would get the coal mining itch out of my system. All that did was increase my desire to learn and do more in the industry and become a miner myself. I would be following in a long line of miners from my own family if I did so. My pap was a coal miner for Bush Coal Co. and for a Koppenhaver in Bear Valley. His Dad and Uncles both worked for Bush Coal Co. and other Independant operators over the years. There dad used to purchase mules for the many collierys of the area. A great uncle of mine, Clyde Machamer, was even president of the Independant Miners and Associates for a while. He along with his brothers worked in various coal mines over the years. On my dads side of the family his grandfather and uncles worked in the Williamstown Tunnel and Brookside Colliery prior to the Great Depression and worked in there own mine during the depression. My Grandfather worked in the mines briefly before he joined the Navy in WW II . While at the No.9 I was introduced to Bob Matalavage there foreman and a former Independant Operator. He introduced me to John Brown, owner of Alfred Brown Coal Co.. He Hired me as a laborer at his 7ft. Slope mine in New Philedelphia. I'm also his electrician and act as the certified electrician as required by MSHA at his mine and several strip mining operations. If the regulatory nature of MSHA was changed to be more in line with conditions found in Anthracite deep mines I fully intended to follow in the foot steps of my mentors and close friends, Alfred Brown, Bob Matalavage, and Bill Reiner and start my own deep mine. At this time that dream is growing farther and farther away because of the stifileing grip government agencys have on our industry. I am doing everything I can to help the Industry and carry my share of the burden. I keep the history alive at the No.9, Am learning the trade at Alfred Brown Coal Co. and even joined the local Mine Rescue team to help. I maintain my MSHA electric card and stay abreast of changes set forth in both the CFR and NEC. As someone that aspired to be a operator I think I can speak for everybody when I say that the operators are not looking for regulation to go away. What we are looking for is a less hostile management team in District 1 and common sense applied to the enforcement of the CFR. What other small buisness employing 5 people on average has the ATF, OSM, PA DEP, MSHA, IRS, and PennDOT to deal with on a daily basis? What other individuals or Industrys suffer the way ours does under the never ending duplication of services provided by these agencys? What other small buisness owners are told not to eat for three years and you could afford to put a system in your mine that doesn't make sense or really work in our application?



Signed;

Michael A Aukstakalnis[/i]

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"We don't look for any money all we look for is a little help and the only help we get is for the government to shut us down and if you go to the gas station and buy the gas you'll see why..........................you'll see why"


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:34 pm 
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Location: WILKES-BARRE PA
I second that emotion

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 5:42 pm 
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Location: Harrisburg, PA (or in the coal fields)
Very well written Mike! Hopefully things will change for the better.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:16 pm 
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Thanks for the compliments!
Now for Alfred Browns Views;


I have been involved in mining anthracite coal all my life. I do not recall a time I was not involved with coal mining. I have been mine foreman since 1985, self employed since 1984. It is more than a job or simply working hard. A self-employed coal miner must possess all aspects of knowledge concerning deep mining, from construction of head frames to track switch and car construction and fabrication. Along the way an anthracite coal miner learns the mechanic,construction,carpentry,lumber, and welding trades to name a few. It is necessary to understand mine pumps using hydraulics and lift; aspects of physics,math,and chemistry, not to mention geology,hydrology and map reading and frequently making maps and proposals to submit to various agencies. My day does not end when my crew leaves the mine, there is equipment to repair, plans to submit, and books to balance not to mention getting a fair price and staying competitve in the market. Various certifications are required to work in a deep mine, many involve safety, and first aid. Safety is a very crucial issue every day we come to work. Another aspect of my responsibilities is deciding if an individual person/employee is capable and qualified for work in a mine. I do not find the work at all dangerous or hard, quite the contrary-there are few days that I am not happy to go to work. I consider it being paid for a hobby. My family has been involved in anthracite mining since immigrating to the United States. My father,Robert Alfred Brown worked the Duncott from 1948, then he himself became an independant miner, teaching me the trade. He mined in Donaldson and Tremont then moved on to Hegins Mining from 1950-1965. My father as well as many other family members helped at my mine in order to get it up and running. His fathe (my grandfather) worked as a contract miner in Locust Gap untill 1940. His father (my great-grandfather) also Alfred John Brown came from Wolverhampton, England in 1868 and worked at the Potts Colliery in Locust Dale. Many look at the few remaining deep mines as not making an impact on the area, in fact when you consider the men I employ, the truck drivers I pay and the fuel and blasting supplies I need, factor in the various supplies I purchase to keep the mine in working order per guidlines set down by many agencies it will definitely leave an impact when I am forced out of business.

A.J.B.

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"We don't look for any money all we look for is a little help and the only help we get is for the government to shut us down and if you go to the gas station and buy the gas you'll see why..........................you'll see why"


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:40 pm 
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
wow.......


wow.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 6:50 pm 
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Mike,

Great thoughts. I look forward to reading the third one. I would be interesting to have John hop online from time to time.

Sitting down and talking to him is on my list of things to do out there.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Apr 21, 2010 9:04 pm 
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Location: Anthracite Region of PA
OUTSTANDING!!!!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2010 7:08 pm 
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Being one who loves to write. Very well done with good messages !!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:55 pm 
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Location: My own little hole in ground.
I knew both of ya's had it in ya. We should all get together and write a book.

:lol:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jun 07, 2010 7:49 pm 
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Ok It's a long time comming but here is the first part of what Earl Kiefer wrote, when I get time I will put up the rest of his.

Pennsylvania Anthracite Coal

Shortly after the Native American Indians showed the early pioneer settlers in Schuylkill County the magic black rocks ( Anthracite) that they had found and the settlers got acquainted with its powerful heat producing long lasting, smoke free burning qualities, it's use spread over a ever widening area.

As new stoves were developed and Anthracite's use became wide spread, homes and commercial buildings could be heated in there entire areas. This allowed running water to be utilized inside the buildings, kitchens, bath as well as drinking water. The first stoves and furnaces were single walled, hand fired, hot air burners. With the development of a double walled unit, water could be heated with pipes delivering hot water to radiators to every part of a building over long distances. Later, pumps were designed and used to pump the hot water to the far reaches and return to the heater for recirculation and reheat. Still later automatic feed and ash removal stokers were developed.

By 1900 anthracite was the number one heating fuel in the U.S. as well as vast amount exported to foreign countries. At this time over 100 million tons were produced with over 150,000 workers directly employed all from underground mines. No shovels,excavators, bulldozers or heavy equipment was used untill years later.

Anthracite coal was the wealth that created cities and towns from Carbondale to Lykens through 9 counties and the towns in that vast area. Canals were built, railroads were built, highways constructed, power plants built, all because of anthracite coal.

Anthracite fired the industry to mechanize our country and was essential in fighting 2 world wars by our country to resounding victories. Surely had we not had Anthracite coal our country would be 60 to 80 years behinf where we are today. With the discovery and development of domestic oil and gas as a fuel source at reasonable cost, Anthracite coal was rapidly replaced as a heating fuel.

The method of anthracte mining also changed from underground mining (very labor intense and costly) to surface (strip) mining with heavy equipments ability to move large amounts of material. By 1969 when the federal government adopted the "miners act" later to become MSHA, there were no line company ( UMW) deep mines working underground. However there were 211 small IMA underground mines producing there high grade high recovery anthracite coal.

The Federal regulations with 95% or more geared towards bituminous coal mining weighed a heavy toll on the Independant undergrounds and they rapidly closed down until this date there are less than a dozen left mining coal. In fact, since MSHA District 1 ( the entire anthracite coal region) management team is in office two-thirds of the deep mines have closed permanently. There were 30 IMA anthracite deep mines operating when MSHA's present management team arrived which brings up a very,very interesting array of facts and questions.




To be continued!

_________________
"We don't look for any money all we look for is a little help and the only help we get is for the government to shut us down and if you go to the gas station and buy the gas you'll see why..........................you'll see why"


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