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Virginia Coal Mines Converted to Industrial Park



June 2, 2022 - Russell County, Virginia has cut the ribbon on a new regional industrial park that turns an area of old coal mines into an area of potential economic development opportunities.

Known as Project Reclaim, the idea began as an application to the Virginia Department of Energy (Virginia Energy) in 2017 for federal funding through the Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Program.

Five years and nearly $5 million later, this 160-acre site is now a one-of-a-kind project with unique marketing assets to potential businesses.

“Project Reclaim is in a great position to host new economic development and provide jobs in the coalfields region,” U.S. Rep. Morgan Griffith., R-9th District, said.

Because of its coal industry history, Project Reclaim offers existing rail lines, access to a robust electric grid, more than a mile of maintained roads and an abundance of water and natural gas supplies.

“We are now able to successfully compete for business we might not have imagined before,” Russell County Industrial Development Authority Director Ernie McFaddin said.

In addition to site preparation, Russell County Reclamation, the company responsible for the reclamation and on-site construction, also removed 32 acres of coal waste.

“We were so glad to be able to remove the hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of coal waste through this project,” Russell County Reclamation Partner John Matney said. “That also meant protecting 2,000 feet of stream bank that is part of our very sacred Clinch River watershed.”

Russell County Reclamation removed an old preparation plant that had operated on the site since the 1950s and closed 10 portals left behind by coal mining that occurred before 1977.

Further development on nearby parcels was funded by the Virginia Tobacco Commission.

The Abandoned Mine Land Economic Revitalization Program originated in a federal omnibus bill in 2017. Virginia Energy has received $10 million annually for economic development on abandoned mine lands.