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what is coal mining

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what is coal mining - some interesting facts

The two major schools of coal mining are surface mining and underground mining. To qualify for surface mining, the coal seam must lie within 60 metres of the surface. The miners’ job is to remove all of the ‘overburden’ – the cubic tons of rock, soil and trees above the coal seam -and expose the coal layer for extraction. The main tools of the trade are dynamite and dragline excavators, 2,000-ton behemoths that can move 450 tons of material with one swoop of their massive buckets

Perhaps the most dramatic and controversial surface mining technique is Mountaintop Removal (MTR), in which miners use explosives and heavy machinery to literally knock the top off a mountain – up to 200 metres below the peak – to get at the rich coal beds beneath

Underground mining is decidedly more difficult and dangerous. In smaller mines, workers still use conventional methods, blasting and digging out large “rooms’ supported by thick “pillars’ of untouched coal. But that won’t cut it for modern mining operations that regularly remove over 100 megatons (1 million tons) of raw coal each year

what is coal mining - some interesting facts

The go-to machine of the highvolume coal mine is a continuous miner. This long, low-slung machine rips through coal faces with a wide rotating drum armed with hundreds of drill bits. Each bit is sprayed with a fine mist of water, cooling the cutting surface and neutralizing coal dust emissions. Using built-in conveyors, the machine rolls the coal off its back, where it’s transported to the surface by haulers or conveyor belts

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