Earth Mapping Resources Initiative: Kentucky Non-Coal Mine Waste Inventory

Grants and Contracts Details


Award Purpose – The purpose of the proposed project is to use archive mining documents together with remote sensing methods to locate and delineate potential non-coal mine waste sites. The history of mining for non-coal mineral resources in Kentucky reaches back to 1830s; however, production has been erratic throughout much of the 1900s, with no notable recent mining activity. Non-coal mining activities were focused in three main areas of mineralization: the Western Kentucky Fluorspar District, the Central Kentucky Mineral District, and the South-Central Kentucky Mineral District. The mineralization in these areas belong to the basin brine path, magmatic rare earth element, and hybrid basin brine path/magmatic rare earth element mineral systems. These mineral deposits are considered to belong to the Mississippi Valley-type deposits and are hosted in Mississippian carbonates in the Western Kentucky Fluorspar District and in Ordovician carbonates in Central and South-Central Kentucky. Minerals primarily mined in these areas were fluorite, sphalerite, and barite. The critical minerals associated with these deposits are barium, cobalt, fluorine, gallium, germanium, indium, rare earth elements, strontium, and zinc. Despite the long mining history in the state, there is no information readily available about the location and volume of non-coal mine waste. Identifying the location and extent of mine waste sites is not only of interest as potential sources for residual critical minerals but also in relation to health and environmental risks that may be associated with these waste piles. Activities to be Performed – Project personnel will review hundreds of archive mining documents publicly available via the Kentucky Geological Survey’s Kentucky Mineral Resources Information map service to identify any information on non-coal mine waste. Identified mine waste sites will be located on digital elevation models produced using light detection and ranging (lidar) data. These data will be used with the intent of developing a machine learning tool to identify morphological features that may be the related to waste sites thus facilitating the identification of undocumented mine waste locations. Deliverables and Outcomes – The deliverables for this project are geospatial data that outline the location, geology, and resources of mine waste in Kentucky with focus on the Western Kentucky Fluorspar District. Intended Beneficiaries – The outcomes of this project will be incorporated into the national mine waste inventory USGS is currently building and will support state and federal agencies that are responsible for land management planning and remediation decisions. The outcomes of this project will also help answer the questions of how many mine waste sites there are in the US and where they are located.
Effective start/end date8/1/237/31/25


  • US Geological Survey: $53,995.00


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