U.S. Department of the Interior

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For More Information:

Ben Owens

Division Chief
(412) 937-2827

Pittsburgh Field Division

Contact OSMRE



Setting up to drill an abandoned coal mine shaft to determine its condition. Shaft is located beneath a playground adjacent to an elementary school in Saginaw, Michigan.

The operation of coal mining in Michigan began in 1835 in Jackson. At that point the coal crops out at the surface on the margin of the river so it was easily discovered. Successful operations first began in the Saginaw district and in Bay county in 1895, and these districts were the chief source of supply of Michigan coal from that point on.

The peak production in the state occurred in 1907 when a total of 2 million tons was produced by 37 mines. Except for a few minor temporary increases between 1918 and 1935, production declined steadily after 1907.  From 1923, the annual production of coal in Michigan did not exceeded 1 million tons. 

The last underground commercial mine, the Swan Creek Mine, in St. Charles, Saginaw County, was abandoned in 1952. In the mid 1970’s an open pit mine was started near Williamston in Ingham County, but it only operated for a short time before it was abandoned. Since then no coal mining has occurred within the state. Over 46 million tons of coal was mined in the state.

State Contacts

Abandoned Mine Lands (Title IV) Regulatory (Title V)

ABandoned Mine Land (AML)

Since the early 1980’s the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement, through the Federal Reclamation Program (FRP), has spent over $4.9 million on abating safety issues and restoring abandoned coal mine lands in Michigan. Work completed includes:

  • Filling of 71 vertical shafts
  • Elimination of 950 feet of dangerous high walls
  • Restoration of over 35 acres of abandoned mine refuse and strip mine pits
  • Extinguishment of an 8 acre coal refuse fire.
  • Drilling and grouting of abandoned underground mine areas that were collapsing under homes in Saginaw.

Active mining is not currently being performed within this state. Abandoned mine land (AML) issues are handled by AR's Technical Support Division (TSD).

To report a potential coal mining abandoned mine land (AML) problem contact:
Mike Richmond,, (412) 937-2850

Page Last Modified/Reviewed: 11/2/15

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