German experience in hydraulic coal mining and its application to Canadian conditions

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 71, No. 789, 1978

H. Harzer, Research Engineer, Steinkohlenbergbauverein, Essen, West Germany, L. B. Geller, Physical Scientist, Mining Research Laboratories, Canada Centre for Mineral and Energy Technology, Department of Energy, Mines and Resources, Ottawa, Canada

Statistics Canada records indicate that in recent years 70 to 80% of the entire Canadian coal production originated from Western Canadian mines, in which about 55 to 65% of the coals are bituminous. Until recently, less than 20% of the latter were extracted by underground methods, the remainder being surface-mined. However, it is estimated that within the foreseeable future up to 80 or 90% will have to be gained by underground techniques. Although Western Canadian coal resources are considerable, they are unfortunately locked in severely distorted, steeply pitching and faulted seams of variable thickness. Consequently, their economic extraction poses serious engineering problems. One possible solution to the problems is to apply hydromechanical methods to underground mining. This is a well-proven method shown to be economically viable under Western Canadian conditions. This paper endeavors to widen the scope of published data on hydraulic coal mining and is based on practical engineering and cost data gathered through contacts with West German designers and operators of hydraulic mines.
Keywords: Coal mining, Hydraulic coal mining, Germany, Underground mining, Hydromechanics, Quintette deposit, Saxon deposit, Elk River deposit, Hosmer-Wheeler deposit, Fording River deposit, Gregg River deposit.