Economie Considerations in the Production and Preparation of Coal for the Carbonization Market

CIM Bulletin, 1970

GERALD BLACKMORE, Vice-President, Goal Division, Cape Breton Development Corporation, Sydney, N.S.

This paper suggests that with the settlement of long-term contracts of fifteen years' duration, with prospects of extension, the coal mining industry has, for the first time, a complete commercial justification for largescale planning. The labour costs of coal production over past years are analyzed and, with the acceptance of the premise that the basic shift rates are certain to rise in the years to come, the paper suggests that forward planning should provide f&r capital investment to make a traditionally labour-dense industry into a capital-dense industry. Automated methods of manpower deployment and timekeeping and the monitoring of ali equipment back to a central control point are discussed as ail-important means of obtaining maximum utilization of high-cost capital investment. Principles of payment of the workforce, and the utilization of equipment 24 hours a day, seven days a week and the maximum number of days a year, are dealt with as means of achieving maximum capital utilization. Sorne of the new technical underground and coal preparation problems which will undoubtedly result from the concentration of workings and maximum machine utilization are discussed, and the author makes suggestions as to how these might be solved. In short, the author predicts that if the coal mining industry is prepared to recognize the problems and invest in modern equipment backed by highly trained staff. then the outcome will justify the high capital investment involved. He stresses the importance of human communications in achieving this end.
Keywords: Cape Breton Development Corporation, coal mining, longwall, methane, preventive maintenance, Coal, Cost, Costs, Markets, methane, Mine, Mines, Production, Systems