The objective of this program was to determine by laboratory experiments the kinetics and mechanics of the reactions that produce acid in coal mine drainage. The program was divided into three phases: in Phase I, five coal mines, representative of Appalachian coal mines, were chosen for sampling and an experimental design was identified suited to accomplish the program objectives. In phase II, the five mines were sampled and test protocols applied. The results showed most pyrite weathering to be based on oxidation in the presence of water. Iron bacteria, especially thiobacillus ferrooxidans, catalyzed the rate of pyrite weathering by a factor of three. An increase in initial iron concentration in a system that modeled the mine environment acted to inhibit bacterial catalysis of weathering. In Phase III, five tailings piles were sampled and the material obtained was used to evaluate this method of bacterial catalysis inhibition. The evaluation verified method effectiveness; inhibition over 80% of the release of weathering was observed.