Highwall Coal Recovery

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 88, No. 995, 1995

R. Williams, Line Creek mine, Line Creek Resources Ltd., Sparwood, British Columbia

Line Creek Resources Ltd. produces three million clean tonnes per year of metallurgical and thermal coals for the international market. The mining operation, which is located in the mountains of southeastern British Columbia, produces coal from four pits by conventional truck and shovel methods. The South Pit, which has been in operation since 1982, has a benched highwall 490 m in height. Shallow dipping coal seams at the base of the syncline formation will be exposed in the highwall over the next four years of pit life. The first of these seams, which will measure 500 m in final highwall length, was exposed in 1994. An auger, powered by a 1250 hp engine capable of cutting 2.2 m diameter holes, was brought on site in 1994 and has proven to be a successful means of recovering coal from the 13 m thick seam. This paper covers the background to the selection of an auger mining method to recover highwall reserves together with the geo-technical and methane considerations for this approach.