U.S. Department of the Interior

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National Mine Map Repository

"Preserving Mine Maps for Future Generations"

The History of the National Mine Map Repository

In 1969, an act of Congress established the need for a national mine map repository. The repository was to be funded and assigned to the Department of the Interior (DOI), Bureau of Mines (BOM) in 1970. A repository was set up at a BOM office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania that covered all states east of the Mississippi River with the exception of Louisiana and Minnesota. Those two states, together with most states west of the Mississippi River, were covered by a repository at the BOM Intermountain Field Operation Center in Denver, Colorado. Northwest states were covered by the BOM office in Spokane, WA.

In 1982, the responsibility for the repository and the repository staff was formally transferred to DOI's Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSMRE). Later, when BOM was dissolved in 1996, all of the maps from the BOM offices were consolidated into two separate OSMRE repositories, one each in the cities of Pittsburgh and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, the Wilkes-Barre repository covering only the anthracite coal region of northeastern Pennsylvania. In 2011, the Wilkes-Barre Mine Map Repository closed. The entire collection of the National Mine Map Repository now resides in the Green Tree (Pittsburgh), PA office.

From the beginning, the mission of the repository has been to obtain authoritative maps on completed mining operations and preserve them on microfilm. High priority is given to maps of mines in areas where the potential for adverse impact to the environment was most significant. The NMMR, in addition to being an archival entity concerned with the preservation of mine maps, is a storehouse of information on mines. The NMMR index system is a database of mining related information. It is a valuable resource of for identifying mineral and energy reserves and for addressing mining related environmental issues. The information is made available to Federal and state geological surveys, state mining bureaus, mining companies, oil and gas companies, conservationists, research and planning organizations, water pollution boards, city and industrial planners, highway engineers, building contractors and real estate developers and private citizens.

Today the NMMR is a modern high-tech facility with leading edge map scanning and archiving capability, and a state-of-the-art electronic map indexing system. The primary archival method remains microfilm, although more and more of the repository's holdings are also available in digital format held on over 500 terabytes of storage capacity.

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