The Coal Industry of West Virginia is nearly 150 years old.   It is estimated that over those years, thousands of mines were abandoned in West Virginia.  In many cases very little information was compiled  regarding these mines. As early as 1883 Mine Maps were required to be “furnished” to the inspector, however there was no law providing for the maps to be maintained. When a mine was abandoned, it was forgotten.  No one considered the future problems that the abandoned mines could create.  

The first real indication of abandoned mines presenting a problem was the Hominy Falls disaster of May 6, 1968. 

Four miners of the Gauley Coal and Coke Co., No. 8 mine died as a result of a mining crew cutting into unknown, adjacent, abandoned mine workings filled with water.  The resulting inundation, drowned the four miners and trapped many others.  Immediately following this disaster laws were passed establishing the “Mine Map Archives”.  Both the Federal Government and the West Virginia Legislature passed laws regulating the preservation of  mine maps.  In West Virginia, this law (22A-2-1) requires all mining operators to submit to the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health Safety and Training a final, certified map of their operation.   Further it requires the maintenance of maps in a fire-proof vault and required the establishment of an indexing and microfilming system.

Since the passage of mine map legislation on both state and federal levels, the agencies involved (U.S. Department of Interior, Office of Surface Mining and the West Virginia Office of Miners’ Health, Safety and Training) and the WV Geological and Economic Survey have worked in cooperation to acquire maps and to index and digitize them. Currently, over 60,000 images have been digitized and indexed for West Virginia mines.  The U.S. Department of Labor, Mine Safety & Health Administration awarded the State of West Virginia, Office of Miners� Health Safety & Training a grant in the amount of $1,200,000 to support a project entitled �Digitizing Mine Maps�.  The purpose of the grant is for digitizing mine maps and developing technologies to detect mine voids. This effort and these monies will be shared with the WV Geological & Economic Survey.  The grant will enable the state to collect, copy and georeference thousands of undocumented abandoned mine maps. This will decrease the exposure of those in the mining industry to the hazards of unplanned cut-through into inundated mine voids. 


A Microsoft excel version of the West Virginia Mine Map Index is now available for download. Use this link to download the WV Mine Map Index. There are currently two supplements to the Mine Map Index: 900 series Maps (1.49 MB) and March update (1.16 MB). These supplemental indexes are of map images added to the Archives during the last several years.

A viewer for Microsoft Excel files is available from the Microsoft site. Download Excel Viewer.  The mine map indexes contain the following data: Company Name, Mine Name, County, Mine Type, Seam, ID Number, River Basin, UTM co-ordinates, and other pertinent  We are constantly looking for maps to add to the system (see contact information below) .  

Our agency recently established checklists for the submittal of maps to our agency. Along with these checklists are several pages of mine map symbols.

If you have maps or know where they can be found, use the contact information below and help us add them to the collection. We are not interested in keeping the map, we only want the image.

Note:  Mine Maps of currently permitted operations in West Virginia  are considered confidential until the mine permit is closed with this office. West Virginia Code: 22A-2-1 (4).


WV Mine Map Information     

WV Miners’ Health Safety and Training
Oak Hill Regional Office – Mapping & Eng. Section
304-469-8100
E-Mail: Mine Mapping – Oak Hill 

National Mine Map Information

National Mine Map Repository
Pittsburgh, PA
Telephone 412-937-3001
FAX  412-937-2888
Hours of Operation 7:30 a.m. through 4:00 p.m.,(Visits by appointment only)Postal address:DOI, OSM, MMR3 Parkway CenterPittsburgh, PA 15220E-mail:groberts@osmre.govWeb Page: http://mmr.osmre.gov/

The West Virginia Coal Bed Mapping Program may also be of interest. This program is housed at the West Virginia Geological and Economic Survey. For more information follow the link above.