An Approach to Steep Seam Mining

CIM Bulletin, 1972

J. H. H. CHAMBERLIN, Production Manager, Coleman Collieries Limited, Coleman, Alberta

In the Introduction the author briefly discusses the company history as it relates to the development of its contracts with the Japanese steel mills. The main part of the text describes how Coleman Collieries Limited approached the problem of mining coal profitably in thick, steeply inclined seams. For many years a basic room-andpillar system was worked by conventional methods. Main roadways were driven on strike across the mineable area. These roadways acted as haulage routes for coal, materials and men. Rooms were developed to the rise of the main haulage route by pairs of men using air-operated hand picks. As these rooms advanced the miners would lay and extend a sheetiron chute down which mined coal would gravitate to a controlled loading point, where it was loaded into trains of mine cars. Connecting roadways or "OFFS" were driven at predetermined intervals between adjacent rooms, forming pil1ars or blocks. Extraction of the blocks followed on a line conducive to good strata control some distance behind the developing rooms. A need for higher productivity, expansion of the operations and a scarcity of qualified miners resulted in the company deciding to mechanize its underground mines. Joy 6 CM continuous miners and 10 SC shuttle cars were selected as being machines that could reasonably negotiate the problems associated with the pitching seam. The equipment, nonetheless, has definite limitations and Coleman therefore developed a modified version of the room-and-pi11ar system such that the miners and cars could work on cross pitch. In the area described, main roadways were driven to the rise on an average gradient of 12 degrees. Panels, which consisted of two parallel roads with interconnecting cross-cuts, were then developed on strike to a boundary point. Blocks formed in the development of the panels were subsequently extracted on retreat. Problems associated with each phase of the operation are thoroughly discussed, together with roadway support methods and equipment used for the conveyance of coal and materials.
Keywords: Alberta, gradient, Joy Miner, National Coal Board, Coal, Equipment, Mine, Mines, mining, Pillars, Roadways, Supply