Using hydraulic excavators to mine variably dipping coal seams

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 78, No. 882, 1985

ROSS G. BERTINSHAW, Supervisor, Development Engineering, Line Creek Mine, Crows Nest Resources Limited, Sparwood, British Columbia

The Line Creek Mine of Crows Nest Resources started mining coal in the fall of 1981. There are seven mineable seams with thicknesses ranging from 1.5 to 13 metres and with dips varying from 0 degrees to 60 degrees. This, together with internal partings and the very friable nature of the coal, creates a number of mining problems. The coal is divided into zones depending on the dip of the seam. Each zone requires a different mining technique to ensure optimum recovery and low dilution while still keeping fines to a minimum. Line Creek employs a combination of hydraulic front shovels and backhoes to mine its coal without blasting or use of dozers. This has been very successful in reducing the proportion of fine coal hauled to the plant, thus improving quality control and reducing costs in coal processing. There have been a number of other benefits from the use of excavators instead of more conventional methods. These include better selectivity, good cleanup, reduction in traffic at the face and lower cost.
Keywords: Equipment, Maintenance, Coal mining, Hydraulic excavators, Coal processing, Shovels, Line Creek Mine.