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National Mine Land Reclamation Center

History and Impact

In 1988 Congress recognized the need for an organization to specifically address the outstanding reclamation problems and authorized formation of the National Mine Land Reclamation Center (NMLRC). The following problems were identified as they relate to active and abandoned coal mines:

  • Acid Mine Drainage
  • Prime Farmland Restoration
  • Subsidence Control
  • Groundwater Degradation

Many of the original problems have been resolved. However, acid drainage from coal mines and, increasingly, metal mines remains the most significant environmental effect of mining.

The NMLRC occupies a unique niche in the University structure. The Center functions as a program development agency, an administrative unit and a research unit. The Center is funded through grants and contracts with private, state and federal agencies. Typically, the NMLRC will coordinate with faculty members and/or utilize its own technical staff to ensure project success. The Center concentrates on project progress and completion, which bridges the traditional academic method of project conduct and the results oriented world of the private and public sectors.

The NMLRC has become an internationally-recognized leader in the area of acid mine drainage (AMD). Among technologies initiated, refined or demonstrated by the NMLRC, the following are now in practice within the industry, state and federal agencies:

  • Alkaline amendment
  • Quantitative AMD prediction method
  • Pneumatic and slurry placement of alkaline coal ash in underground mines
  • Selective spoil handling
  • Remining
  • Passive AMD treatment systems for watershed restoration
  • Use of coal ash and steel slag barriers

In addition, the NMLRC has helped organize and provide technical support for four major national initiatives:

  • Appalachian Clean Streams Initiative
  • Acid Drainage Technology Initiative
  • Combustion Byproducts Recycling Consortium
  • Monongahela Basin Mine Pool Project






Paul F. Ziemkiewicz, Ph.D., Director
West Virginia Water Research Institute
West Virginia University
(304) 293-6958

Melissa O’Neal, Program Manager
West Virginia Water Research Institute
West Virginia University
(304) 293-7006

Ben Pursglove, Environmental Scientist
West Virginia Water Research Institute
West Virginia University
(304) 293-7074

Administrative Staff

Terry Polce, Program Assistant II
(304) 293-7041