SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) — The job of fixing up old, used-up mines in Illinois is getting a $24 million federal boost.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports, the state’s Department of Natural Resources is announcing a grant from the U. S. Department of the Interior for the Abandoned Mine Lands program within the DNR’s Office of Mines and Minerals.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Dave Dahl reports

Greg Pinto, who manages the Abandoned Mine Lands Program for the state, says there are numerous mines that could be safety hazards.

“Occasionally, we run across a mine shaft that has never been filled. It’s just open. Sometimes, they were filled improperly and they will fail,” Pinto said. “So that’s probably our highest priority is a safety problem like a mine shaft, you know, there may be a mine from the ’50s that’s left behind some buildings that are deteriorating, and we see where the kids that have been playing in them.”

Pinto says mining companies themselves are responsible for land reclamation, but only for mines which have been shut down since 1977. He adds that some of the grant money could go toward demolishing what is left of the Benld School, which was heavily damaged by mine subsidence a few years ago.

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