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In cooperation with Illinois State Geological Survey (ISGS), the Office of Mines and Minerals is in search of old underground mine maps of Illinois.

Underground coal mining has been taking place for over 160 years in Illinois. Current laws require maps of lands that have been undermined to be filed with the County Clerk. We estimate that there are over 5500 such mines. Mine maps have been located for less than half of these.

These maps are very important for:

  • Public safety to identify mine shafts,
  • Highway, residential, and commercial building construction to prevent or minimize damage from potential subsidence,
  • Miners safety, to prevent accidentally breaking into an unknown mine full of gas or water.
  • To improve the ability of the Department to respond to the many inquiries from homeowners to check if they are undermined.
Many of the undocumented maps are believed to be in libraries, historical societies and personal files of old mine employees. The Department asks that anyone who knows of one of these maps, please contact the Department at (618) 650-3197 or by emailing rgibson@siue.edu .

A map specialist will come to your location, if you wish. Otherwise maps can be mailed, or you may stop by one of our offices in Edwardsville, Springfield, Ottawa, or Benton.

These maps will be checked against our existing inventory. If found to be a new discovery, they will be electronically imaged and returned to the owner (if requested).

In addition, with the significant improvements in computer technology, the Department is scanning the original file maps into a computer system at a much higher quality than past projects, to improve the quality of information it can provide to local government agencies and the public.

The Department will also be contacting county governments to access their filed copies as well. Their cooperation in this project is greatly appreciated.

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