13,000 Jobs Created on Former Surface Mines in West Virginia

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13,000 Jobs Created on Former Surface Mines in West Virginia

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – More than 13 thousand people are working in West Virginia because of projects created on land that has been reclaimed after surface mining.

The West Virginia Division of Energy and the Office of Coalfield Community Development announced the creation of  13,335 jobs stemming from 43 projects in 12 counties.

New uses for surface mined lands include residential development, tourism, energy, schools, government facilities and manufacturing.

“With some areas of our state having little flat land for development, the use of surface mined lands has been critically important to providing land for new industry and facilities for use by the general public,” says Division of Energy Director Jeff Herholdt. “In addition to the flat land, many projects are able to take advantage of infrastructure, roads, and electric  service used during coal mining.”

The FBI Complex in Clarksburg is one such successful project. More than 3,000 people are employed at this federal facility in Harrison County. It was built on 986 acres of reclaimed mine land. Most employees were hired from the local area when it opened in 1995. Turnover in the fingerprint division was once 25% a year before it moved to West Virginia. It has dropped to less than 1 percent. In Brooke County, more than a thousand people work at the Weirton Medical Center. This 238-bed hospital was built on reclaimed mine land in 1978. It offers health care services to residents of West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

Teachers are educating hundreds of students in several schools on reclaimed mine land. A $39 million dollar school is scheduled to open in August 2011 on former mine property on top of a mountain between Red Jacket and Varney in Mingo County. Other schools located on reclaimed land include Mount View High School in McDowell County and Coal City Elementary, Independence Middle and High Schools in Raleigh County.

More than 10,000 acres of land that was surface mined will now be home to the National Boy Scout Jamboree. It is set to open in 2013. Fifty thousand Boy Scouts will come to the adventure center each year, except every fourth year during Jamboree years. That’s when an additional 40,000 Scouts and tens of thousands of guests are expected to visit.

Other projects currently under construction include a $300 million, 119-turbine wind farm in Greenbrier County and an airport in Mingo County.

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November 12, 2010
Contact: Courtney Sisk, WV Department of Commerce
                 304-957-9341