The mine, called Reed Mineral No. 5, is supported by many city leaders in Cordova. In exchange for the allowing the company to mine the land, the City of Cordova will an 8 percent royalty on the coal extracted, which could mean as much as $4 million for a city struggling to rebuild its downtown district after April 27.
Several members of the Dovertown community, an enclave near Cordova where the mine will be set up, are opposing the operation. They say the project is short-sighted and a waste of riverfront property that could be developed into a bedroom community for Birmingham.
Other groups have brought up concerns about the mine’s impact on the source of drinking water for 200,000 people in central Alabama.
The mine would be five miles downstream from the intake of the Birmingham Water Warks Board’s Western Filtration Plant, which services much of the greater Birmingham area — including Jasper.
Water Board officials say they are concerned about levels of iron and manganese in the source water, which could increase treatment costs, stain clothes, sinks and tubs and cause an “objectionable taste” to the water.
The concerns about the area’s drinking water are echoed by the nonprofit conservation group Black Warrior Riverkeeper. Riverkeeper officials also worry about the effects of the mine on the waterway’s ecosystem and recreation on the river.
The Alabama Surface Mining Commission (ASMC) will host an informal public conference about Reed No. 5 Mine at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 9, at Bevill State Community College's Sumiton campus. (Auditorium Building 1400 at 101 State Street, Sumiton, Alabama). Concerned citizens plan to gather outside the auditorium at 5 p.m.
Public comments can also be given without attending the hearing. Until Thursday, Aug. 9, ASMC permit comments can be submitted via surface mail to the Alabama Surface Mining Commission, P.O. Box 2390, Jasper, AL 35502-2390 or via e-mail to Dr. Randall Johnson, Randall.Johnson@asmc.alabama.gov. The comment letter should reference Reed No. 5 Mine, ASMC Permit No. P-3957.