Mine

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Volunteers who rescue trapped mineworkers will soon have access to technology developed in Pittsburgh using seismic vibrations as a means of communication.

It was one of the technological advancements the Mine Safety and Health Administration touted Thursday at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Research Laboratory in South Park. Mine safety executives were there to highlight developments made during the past eight years under the administration of Joe Main, assistant secretary for MSHA.

The state is providing $1.65 million in grants to support mine mapping projects.

The Pennsylvania of Department of Environmental Protection has awarded the Mine Map Grants to seven institutions, including six Pennsylvania universities.

Amanda Witman, spokeswoman for the DEP, said the grant recipients will add mapping information to the already active Mine Map Atlas, an interactive compilation of mine maps across Pennsylvania.

Of the 1 million homes in Pennsylvania that sit above underground mines, one in 2,000 insured buildings are damaged by mine subsidence, costing an average of $50,000 per structure.

That’s according to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), which has launched an underground Mine Map Atlas, an online mapping system that allows the public to view underground mines across the state.