Alabama has four bituminous coalfields that are part of the Appalachian coal basin: the Plateau field, the Warrior field, the Cahaba field, and the Coosa field. A total of 9,700 square miles of the State is underlain by coal. The Plateau field is the largest coalfield, being greater in size than the other three fields combined, but has attracted little commercial mining. The majority of coal mining today occurs in the Warrior field. Alabama's total coal reserves are estimated at 4.8 billion tons. Of those, a total of 3.1 billion tons are recoverable, 0.73 billion by underground mining and 2.4 billion by surface mining operations.
The majority of Alabama's coal is high rank bituminous although moderate amounts of low and medium rank bituminous coal also exists. The coal is generally of good quality and most beds have relatively low percentages of sulfur and ash. Lignite is also present in the Coastal Plain, but is not currently of economic interest. Underground coal mining is accomplished by the room and pillar and longwall mining methods. Surface mining typically uses auger, contour, or area mining methods.
Regulation and Reclamation
The Alabama Surface Mining Commission has responsibility for SMCRA activities related to surface coal mining in the State of Alabama.
The Alabama Department of Labor, Inspections Division has responsibility for SMCRA activities related to abandoned coal mines in the State of Alabama.
Grant reports and related documents are contained in the official grant file maintained at the:
501 Belle Street, Suite 215
Alton, IL 62002
Telephone: (618) 463-6460
Fax: (618) 463-6470
They can be reviewed during normal business hours. Alternatively, these documents can be requested through the Birmingham Field Office and a copy of the grant file will be made available. The copy may be requested in paper or electronic format.
What is Oversight?
OSMRE defines "oversight", as the "process of evaluating and assisting states [and tribes] in the administration, implementation, and maintenance of approved programs. In collaboration with each state/tribe, OSMRE develops a Performance Agreement/Evaluation Plan tailored to the unique conditions of each state/tribe program. Performance Agreements/Evaluation Plans between OSM and the states establish how oversight is conducted during each evaluation year.
Learn more about OSMRE's National Oversight Program.
To view oversight documents visit, OSMRE's REG-8 Oversight Database: