Protesters angry over proposed Cordova mine location - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Protesters angry over proposed Cordova mine location

Posted: Updated:
CORDOVA - AL -

People in Walker County are worried for their homes and their health. They're protesting a strip mine along the Black Warrior River that could affect drinking water across the Birmingham metro.

Several dozen people gathered at Bevill State College for a protest and a meeting with the mining commission. That commission is responsible for issuing the permit for the "Reed Number Five Mine"  - and Thursday night, it listened to what people who live nearby had to say.

Barbara Cooper's home in Dovertown holds three generations of memories.

"Well, we were shocked," Barbara Cooper said. "We never dreamed that we would have a problem like mining out in that little community."

If the Reed Minerals Number Five Mine goes where it's proposed, her childhood home may not survive.

"It would probably destroy the foundations - the blasting is so close," Cooper said. "I'm probably a half a mile from the blasting. I can't imagine living anywhere else. This is home."

Lecil Stacks knows a thing or two about mining. He spent 35 years as a coal miner but he thinks putting a new one right next to the Black Warrior River is simply dangerous.

"We are not against coal," Lecil Stacks said. "We are against the location and proximity of the river. and also the devastation to people's properties."

"About a million people throughout the water shed top to bottom, this mine, the Reed Minerals Number Five Mine threatens the drinking water supply for 200,000 people," Nelson Brooke, from the organization, "Black Warrior River Keepers" said.

But the mining commission says it's done its homework - it says there is no threat to public health. Commission Director Randall Johnson says mining sites are closely monitored - and there are rarely any major violations.

"I can't think of any mines we have going now that are contributing any real problems to the quality of water in the river," Randall Johnson, Director, State Surface Mining Commission said.

The commission told us the mineral rights are owned by the Cordova Industrial Development Board - and the town would receive a royalty for all the coal mined there helping boost the local economy. 

The mining commission is required to decide whether it will issue a permit within the next 30 days.