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 Post subject: Subsidence and Abandoned Mine Preservation
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 12:20 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:21 am
Posts: 179
Location: United States
Group,

I have some thoughts and ideas I'd like to share on mine subsidence and the saving of abandoned mines. I think it might be possible to establish a connection between these two issues.

First of all, here is an online article on surface subsidence that placed a section of Interstate 70 at risk in Ohio:

http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=1635

And here is another article related to my own personal favorite, Route 66, that occurred in the extreme southeastern corner of Kansas:

http://www.koamtv.com/story/21481146/si ... -of-galena

In the first article, it is noted that the issue was resolved through efforts to "to strengthen the mine under the interstate".

Unfortunately, it doesn't say how they did that but I know what I'd like to see done in cases like this: Support the roof with new stulls that will not decay (or with a wood like red cedar that would take a long time to decay) while keeping alterations of the mine at an absolute minimum. In other words, do not fill in the mine but keep it and make it safe, even safe enough for people to go in! That wouldn't really be all that difficult – just expensive. But some of the costs of renovation and preservation could be compensated through the solicitation of public mine tours.

Perhaps you might think me crazy, but I'd be glad to part with several hundred dollars of my hard-earned money for a "good" mine tour. But for that kind of money, it truly has to be a "good" tour. That means around four to six hours underground with both walking tours and tram rides. Why not give me a pick and a shovel and let me try and see if I can load a coal car? What the heck, why not?

I know, I know, legal implications. But surely we can find a way around that. People on such a tour have to be made to legally understand, if there is a way to do that, that if they slip and fall and break something or throw their back out, it's on them.

Maybe what we need to do is to try and find more support for saving our mines. I just happened to stumble over this whole issue entirely by accident. It started after I was "Googling" for pictures of old mines in Arizona in an effort to reminisce over my childhood in Arizona. Then one thing led to another and I found a website, then another, then finally this site.

Should we be more aggressive in finding interested individuals? Then, once you find them, what can we do to help?
Things to think about, anyhow.

Regards,

Fred M. Cain,
Topeka, Indiana


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 Post subject: Re: Subsidence and Abandoned Mine Preservation
PostPosted: Tue Mar 26, 2013 6:22 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:28 pm
Posts: 1764
Location: Winnemucca, NV
Why I'd gladly shell out some hard earned scrip to tram around all day and load mine cars as part of a tour! While I don't think such a tour exists anywhere, there are a few rugged mine tours including the Adventure Mine in Michigan (see http://www.adventureminetours.com/Tours.html) where you can spend hours underground without fancy lighting doing some serious mine exploration. Also take a look at http://www.ironminers.com/mine-tours/ which lists all of the known mine tours in the US.

The other option would be to buy or stake your own mine as some people have done on the forum. We own three mines in Nevada and can work them or visit them any time we like. Last year we sold one of our mines, the Tom Swift Mine (see http://www.ironminers.com/mines/tom-swift-mine/) and we plan to stake and then sell more in the future.

We have developed a standard protocol for how to deal with mines that MUST be blocked off for liability or security reasons. For adits, we recommend the installation of bat gates with lockable doors, rather than permanent or destructive measures such as backfilling or dynamiting entrances shut. A bat gate allows wildlife access and allows humans to conduct biological or archeological research. However, as bat gates are not particularly beautiful and hinder the historic aesthetic of a mine adit, they should be placed reasonably far enough as not to be illuminated by natural light (we recommend at least 15 feet). If the portal is timbered or requires retimbering, the bat gate may be installed as part of the timbering, at the far end. Period methods of timbering should be utilized unless incompetent ground renders the need for more modern methods. If a concrete culvert must be used, we recommend that timbering be built over it to retain a more historically accurate appearance.

As for shafts, they may too be batgated or capped for obvious safety reasons. The desire to fill a shaft should be avoided as this often creates temporary plugs that result in subsidences in time. A faithful reproduction of a headframe may be added if it is appropriate. Alternatively, the shaft may be fenced.

_________________
"If you thought old, abandoned mines were only in the west, then you haven't been to IronMiners.com!"


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 Post subject: Re: Subsidence and Abandoned Mine Preservation
PostPosted: Wed Mar 27, 2013 10:21 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:21 am
Posts: 179
Location: United States
Miner Mike,

I think you guys are great! You've got some really good ideas there! Personally, I like your idea of a locked bat gate set back far enough from the portal that it cannot be easily seen from the outside. I would prefer a locked bat gate that can be opened to admit wildlife biologists as well as "mine researchers" like yourself.

Bulldozing or dynamiting a portal should never be done. Believe it or not that has its own set of dangers. Over a period of many years, the filled-in material can settle again enough that a small opening opens back up, just big enough for someone stupid like me to squeeze through. Oh yeah! Been there done that! It may have been stupid but it sure was fun!

This whole concept of "save our mines" is still in its infancy and might be gaining traction. One can hope!

Regards,
Fred M. Cain


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 Post subject: Re: Subsidence and Abandoned Mine Preservation
PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:15 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:04 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Southern Illinois
There was the National Coal Museum that operated 5-6 years in West Frankfort Illinois. It was closed around 2000 due to lack of funding and citations/violations.

With today's increased enforcement, I think it would prove quite costly and difficult to keep a non producing coal mine open. It would take significant funding to staff an operation with the qualified personal required just to make the necessary examinations required by law. There is also going to be permitting, reclaimation, and bonding issues. I've played a part (small and large) in closing a couple mines. My gut says it would be a never ending nightmare. With enough political pull and money, just about anything can happen, but I wouldn't hold out much hope. At least in my state.

It's an interesting idea, however, I personally don't see it happening.


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