Save the Date! Lignite Meeting in Benton

Germany mines lignite, as is shown in this photo of lignite strip mining. Photo courtesy of

State Representative Garry Smith (D-Camden), and the Natural Resources Research Center at Southern Arkansas University (SAU) have been hosting a series of meetings to discuss the potential for lignite mining in southern Arkansas. The final meeting is scheduled for this Thursday, January 6 in Benton.

The Arkansas Geological Survey has estimated that southern Arkansas sits atop most of the state’s 9 billion tons of lignite, a lowest-grade coal variety that can be used as a fuel source for power plants. Controversies surround lignite due to much higher carbon dioxide emissions from lignite-burning power plants than those that burn higher-grade coal. The resource has not been commercially developed on a large scale in Arkansas. Environmentalists are concerned because of strip mining involved with the extraction of lignite.

In December 2010, SAU hosted meetings in Hope, Magnolia, and Hampton. Thursday’s meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Benton Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Center in Benton.

More information may be obtained by calling Jerry Langley, assistant to the president for special projects at Southern Arkansas University, at (870) 235-5090.


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