Despite a lack of production Foresight Energy has asked "the Illinois Department of Natural Resources to approve a 7,731-acre expansion into areas unaffected by the fire," Zagier reports. "While such underground fires aren’t uncommon in mines, expansion opponents argue that the company’s inability to get it under control should give pause to the request." The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration says the fire poses no immediate threat.
"Deer Run, which opened in 2011, operates as a longwall mine, a mechanized process in which enormous shearers slice coal from earthen panels that can stretch for several miles," Zagier writes. "The technique allows for greater coal extraction with fewer workers than traditional 'room and pillar' mining while also causing the surface land above to sink by several feet." (Read more)