Mineral Facts and Problems: 1960 Edition Page: 52
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MINERAL FACTS AND PROBLEMS, ANNIVERSARY EDITION
Since 1921, improvements in mining and
preparation practices probably have reduced
this estimated total loss and helped conserve
coal. The long-hole method, as an adjunct in
the breast-and-pillar mining system, and the
increased speed of pillar recovery obtained
through mechanical loading equipment are ex-
amples of techniques which have increased the
percentage recovery of the original coal. Simi-
larly, modern preparation equipment such as
heavy-medium systems have lower coal losses
than the older types of equipment.
More important from the conservation aspect
is the intensive development of coal-stripping
equipment and methods. Virtually 100 percent
of the coalbed is recovered in stripping opera-
tions. Another important conservation de-
velopment has been the recovery of anthracite
from culm and silt banks and from rivers.
The coal recovered from these sources is the
small-sized coal that formerly had been wasted
from the preparation plants as unmarketable.
Development of combustion equipment to use
the small-sized coal created the market and
made the recovery of the formerly wasted ma-
terial an economic possibility.
Mine water is a troublesome problem in the
anthracite region and threatens large reserves
of coal. An overall approach to this problem
has been provided by the mine-water-control
program established in 1955. The Federal and
State Governments each have contributed $8.5
million for the purchase and installation of
pumping plants and facilities to improve sur-
face drainage. Coal-producing companies co-
operate by providing the operating and main-
tenance costs after the facilities are installed.
Participation of the Federal Government is
conducted by the Department of the Interior
through the Bureau of Mines.
The mine-water-control program has been an
important conservation factor in preventing
the flooding and loss of coal reserves. Through
its surface-drainage improvements, the pro-
gram also aids in conservation of water re-
sources. The improvements keep surface wa-
ter from seeping into the mines and thus pre-
vent the formation of acid mine water which
ultimately would be pumped to the surface to
contaminate the streams.
SOURCES OF STATISTICS
The Bureau of Mines conducts an annual
mail canvass of all known producers of Penn-
sylvania anthracite. The data obtained are
summarized in a Mineral Market Report and
in the Pennsylvania Anthracite chapter of the
Minerals Yearbook. Employment data are
compiled from company reports to the Bureau.
Detailed coal-year data (April 1-March 31)
are collected by the Bureau on shipments of
Pennsylvania anthracite, by sizes, to more than
300 key cities located in 20 States and Canadian
Provinces. As producing companies frequently
are unaware of the final destination of some
shipments, wholesalers, sales companies, dock
operators, and exporting firms are also cov-
ered. The resulting data are published in a
series of Mineral Market Reports and include,
in addition to the city data, statistics on ex-
ports and methods of transportation.
Monthly data on stocks of anthracite in re-
tail yards and retail-dealer deliveries are ob-
tained by the Bureau through a sample survey
of a number of representative dealers. Esti-
mates are prepared from these sample data for
publication in the Weekly Anthracite Report
and Minerals Yearbook.
In preparing weekly and monthly estimates
of production, the statistical summary of
monthly developments, and the Pennsylvania
Anthracite chapter of the Minerals Yearbook,
data are assembled from a variety of sources.
For example, statistics on imports and exports
are supplied by the Bureau of the Census; on
lake movement of anthracite by the Buffalo and
Cleveland offices of the Ore and Coal Ex-
change; on producers' stocks by the Anthracite
Committee; on consumption by electric utili-
ties, by the Federal Power Commission, and
carloading data by the Association of Ameri-
can Railroads. Many other sources are given
footnote credit in various tables of the Penn-
sylvania Anthracite chapter and the weekly
and monthly releases.
PRODUCTION, CONSUMPTION, AND FOR-
The first recorded production of anthracite
was for the period 1807-20, during which 12,--
000 tons were shipped. Output increased stead-
ily thereafter until 1917, when the record of
nearly 100 million tons was established. The
first serious declines occurred during the twen-
ties when some of the Midwestern and Lake
States began to replace anthracite with other
fuels, largely because of uncertainty over the
continuity of supply and resistance to the rela-
tively high prices of anthracite. This break in
the anthracite market soon was followed by the
introduction of domestic oil burners, the de-
pression years of the 1930's and, later, by the
spread of natural gas pipelines into the eastern
markets. Under these competitive pressures,
production dropped by 1938 to only 46 million
tons. During World War II output rose
sharply, reaching a wartime peak of 64 million
tons in 1944, only to once again go into a pe-
riod of decline that saw production fall to 21.2
million tons in 1958. (See table 4.)
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United States. Bureau of Mines. Mineral Facts and Problems: 1960 Edition, report, 1960; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc38790/m1/60/: accessed March 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.