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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:34 pm 
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
drilling at the face is technically on return air, sort of, and we cant take our cameras there so we dont have any pics of that...... :wink: but yes we do use air drills. hand drills went out in 1910! even with an air drill its still tough work, this coal is hard! we usually drill 7-8 holes in the face of the chute. the ones on the top are the hard ones because you have to drill up at a 70 degree angle, and then above your head as we were in the skidmore vein which is about 8 feet thick there. now we are drilling a rock tunnel to and have reached the mammoth bottom split which is around 20 feet thick. we are going to go through this and back into rock then into the middle split which is supposed to be about 15 feet thick. the plan is to run the gangway in rock between the middle split and bottom split and run rock chutes up into each in either direction. then long hole it. long holing is basically drilling a series of real long holes adding 4 and 6 foot bits together then packing them full of powder and taking what you get! for working in a chute, its not bad as you put a few 8 inch planks on the top of the props to work off of. these eventually fill with coal and make a level place to work off of. like we mentioned, if you ever get out this way, a tour would be the best way to see this.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:58 pm 
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A typical set of holes is usually seven but that varies between the guy drilling it, friability of the coal etc. Usually you'll have three holes across the top, three across the bottom and one in the middle is your reliever. If I remember right ( myself, Chris, and Banks aren't allowed above the monkey yet so I'm going from book learning here) The middle hole is timed to go off first, then your bottom and then your top holes. As far as hand drills going out in 1910 that wasn't always the case! They were used probably well into the 1960's in some of these mines. As a matter of fact the mine owner where we work who is only in his early 50's at the oldest used hand drills. Some of the small drifts used mules into the early 70's for hulage. And as far as long hole mining goes the holes can be up to 100 feet long. My cousin worked in a tunnel that long holed and he said it wasn't uncommon to have a whole tree, branches and all, come into the mine.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:03 pm 
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The other thing before I forget is in most cases the same guys that mine the coal are the same guys driving rock tunnels. I ran a jack leg drill and let me tell you, they beat you up! I can't imagine what it was like back in the day when all they had were jumper steels (star drills). To make matters worse around here we have some of the hardest rock in the world, Pottsville Conglomerate. Even with a jack leg it just laughs at you when you go to drill it!

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 9:16 pm 
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Location: SW Indiana
Chris wrote:
like we mentioned, if you ever get out this way, a tour would be the best way to see this.


I'll make note of that, But at a 14 - 16 hour drive I doubt it will be next weekend.

I get to travel a bit with my work, but only once to the Philly area. And that wasn't a fun trip.

I'm certainly enjoying the discussion, what you guys are doing out there, it seems interesting enough.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 12:29 am 
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Location: Hard coal region, PA
i love mining both ways... it's just simply awesome to watch a continuous miner cut coal and the machines work... but on the other hand, mining pitch is like going back a hundred years in a time machine, and i love that aspect of pitch mining....where the men work. plus the shots going off underground are always a thrill. i'm pretty convinced you can't go wrong either way.......

i just want to see a longwall operation in action...


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 9:17 am 
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Location: West Virginia
A longwall is an amazing system. Allways something going on. Jacks advancing, shear or plough going back and forth and top falling. Almost as exciting as a pillar section. I would like to see a conventional section. My dad bossed them back in the seventies but, they are long gone around here. I think there may still be some in eastern Ky.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 3:42 pm 
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Coalfire wrote:
they are long gone around here. I think there may still be some in eastern Ky.


Indiana Undergrounds are all pillar ( if I understadn the term correctly. ). Indiana does not allow longwall mining, Illinois does.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 5:28 pm 
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We have a list where most of the longwalls are still running. Most of the mines we go have them. These are all the high production ones that we talk about.

Just a few:

Powhatan #6 (Ohio)
(2) longwall panels Enlow Fork (W, Pa) 10.7 million tons production in 2006
(2) longwall panels Bailey (W, Pa) 10.2 million tons production in 2006
Robinson Run (WV)
McElroy (WV)
Loveridge (WV)
Shoemaker (WV)
Mine#50 (WV)
Emerald (W, Pa)
Century (Ohio)
Blacksville #2 (WV /Pa)
Mine 60 (NEW) (Pa)
Cumberland Resources (W, Pa)
Federal #2

I Think Harris Mine operates one as well in WV

Mine 84 I believe just shut theirs down & is being moved to help Shoemaker

This should be most of them off the top of my head. Very impressive machines to watch 1,250ft wide mining coal in roughly 4,000 ft or more in length.

There may be a few more mines but that is most of them

Banks I told you we would take you underground & show you if you would just come out. It is that 60 mile radius thing again isn't it :oops: This topic pops up every year.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 28, 2008 11:10 pm 
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Location: West Virginia
Yea, Harris still has a longwall for now. Also, Speed mining's american eagle mine, Massey energy's, Revolution, Logan's Fork, I think Ubb still has one, Clevend Cliffs, #50 mine,(Formally US,Steel) Mingo Logan's Big Laurel mine,Consol Energy's Buchannon #1, ICG is going to develope the Phillipii mine into a longwall. There are more out there but, these are a few close to where I live.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 1:59 pm 
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I had Mine #50 listed - - - - Coalfire Are Massey panels as big as Consol's ?

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 29, 2008 2:22 pm 
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Aracoma was supposed to have 1250ft panels but, settled with 1000ft, most all of their panels are 1000 ft with some less than 1000. Massey uses Joy 7ls shear with joy 12280 sheilds. Spead uses Dbt sheilds cause they are wider and that means less sheilds on the line.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 11:58 am 
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Location: SW Indiana
Another question in this vein, ( pun intended):


What is the typical width of a chute cut.?

From the diagram Chris sent and others. It looks like they start out rather narrow and get wide as they move away from the gangway. And cross cuts are kept to a minumum.

My assumption is: at the gangway, things are kept narrow to allow access and keep the actual loading chute to a managble size. Then as coal is removed the chute can be widened and coal funneled to the gangway. Cross cuts are a required nusance, the coal requiring more shoveling and less gravity.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 4:12 pm 
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The average chute is between 8-15 wide, also most chutes nowadays are the same width there full length. What you do at the gangway is build a battery with a draw hole to load from. The other option you have is to drive your gangway in rock and then a rockhole up into the vein. If you do that than you can either mine with conventional breasts or you can longhole it. If chris or banks gets a chance maybe they'll post a diagram of how that works.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2008 7:01 pm 
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Chris has posted several diagrams that were very informative. I just wasn't sure of the dimensions.

I was looking at a local roof control plan and they are using 18 - 20 foot cuts on 50 to 100 foot centers. I was assuming that you guys are much smaller and maybe closer on the centers.


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