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The project Available Coal Resources in the Eastern and Western Kentucky Coal Fields has identified a number of factors that significantly affect the potential for mining Kentucky's coal. This work has led to an effort to quantify these factors over larger regions and devise means of transferring this information to the largest possible audience. With this goal in mind, the Kentucky Geological Survey is participating in the U.S. Geological Survey's National Coal Assessment Program for the central Appalachian and Illinois Basins. This program compiles basinwide coal-resource and mining data for the most important coal beds in the country. The results are being published in the KGS Map and Chart Series and electronic databases will be released.
Each assessment prepares regional maps of coal extent, coal thickness, structure, overburden, mined-out areas , and data locations. Tonnage calculations have been estimated for eastern Kentucky and western Kentucky for original and remaining coal. Coal availability factors that restrict mining will be calculated in the near future. Coal beds that have been assessed are the Lower Elkhorn, Fire Clay and Upper Elkhorn No. 3 in eastern Kentucky and the Springfield (No. 9), Herrin (No. 11), and Baker (No. 13) in western Kentucky. The results have effectively shown regional trends for these important coal beds and identified areas with the greatest potential for future mining.