Making A Difference: Red Hills lignite coal mine - - Jackson, MS

Making A Difference: Red Hills lignite coal mine

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
CHOCTAW COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Last week, the Red Hills lignite coal mine in Choctaw County won an award for their land use reclamation program, just one of the ways the company is Making A Difference.

No, what you are looking at isn't a pristine natural Mississippi stream. It is a coal mine. Or at least it used to be until it was put back exactly like it was before, even down to the meanders in the stream bed.

The Red Hills mine is operated by North American Coal in Choctaw County. There are three different layers of lignite coal underground here. And it is being dug up and brought to the surface from over 200 feet down, to supply coal to Southern Company's electric generating plant just across the road from it. Mike Thomas is the manager of Land, Public and Government Affairs for the mine.

We have a long term contract with the power plant to provide the fuel for it," said Thomas. "And they in turn have a long term contract with TVA to sell them the electricity that's generated there.

Mike says there are over 200 years worth of coal reserves in Choctaw County alone. But that takes a lot of digging to bring to your home in the form of kilowatts. But when an area is mined out, Red Hills doesn't just leave a hole in the ground.

Reclamation is a critical part of what we do," added Thomas. "The Coal Mining Reclamation Act was passed in 1977. Prior to that there wasn't a lot of control over it. But after that, you've got to put it back as good as or better than it was to begin with. And we've won three national awards for our reclamation effort. Most recently one we received last week from the U.S. Office of Surface Mine was for a stream reclamation project that put a stream back into a natural form."

The area is put back to the way it was back 10 years before the lease was signed. So that means these parts of the county go back to farmland and forest. Wildlife is moving back in. Deer into the reclaimed woods and fish back into the award-winning stream.

You wouldn't know there ever was a coal mining operation here. And that's just the way it's supposed to be. It's like your mama told you about your toys, but them back like you found them when you're through. And that's just what the Red Hills Mine is doing in Choctaw County. And is Making A Difference in the landscape in the process.

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