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 Post subject: How To Open A U/G Coal Mine.
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:51 am 
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Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:57 am
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Location: Hopkins County Ky.
I have talked to one professional miner from East Kentucky who’s family started out as “wildcat minersâ€


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 1:41 pm 
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Location: SW Indiana
I don't have much to add here. Banks, Mike A and Chris should have some input as this is close to what is done in Anthracite.

The big issue with Bitty U/G is the cost of roof control. If the Vein outcrops then "production" starts much sooner, than if a shaft or slope must be sunk.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 2:14 pm 
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Location: WILKES-BARRE PA
(for soft coal) your talking a few $100 million to start, just for equipment, you need to buy/lease land. Permit all the land. There is alot more than just digging the hole in the ground now a days.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:09 pm 
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Location: SW Indiana
Eric,

Why couldn't a Bitty mine be operated like an Anty?

There are some issues for sure:

1) Bitty assuming it is steam coal is a cheaper commodity.
2) Roof control issues
3) Methane issues.

But you have the same permit and lease issues in Anty as Bitty.

Based on the Guys location. This looks like it is in Western Ky. which is most likely steam coal, with no pitch, and 300 to 400 feet deep.

Maybe we can get Coalfire to comment. I'm sure there are small mines in Eastern Ky and WVA.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:22 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jun 26, 2008 3:39 pm
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Location: West Virginia
If you have any outcroppings then it will be much easier to open a mine. If you have to dig down then you are talking big bucks. A permit will be needed and that will take substantial funds. If you own the coal and a large amount of area then it might be possible to wildcat mine it. Will just have to keep it very covert. One guy in Central WV alluded inspectors for over ten years.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 5:19 pm 
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Location: NEPA
If you own the land and the reserves you have the right to mine the coal for your own use without federal or state interference as long as the coal doesnt enter INTERSTATE COMMERCE. If you dig the coal and burn at your own place thats fine and dandy at least thats the way it is in PA and i'm pretty sure its that way in other states as well. In PA for a small mine the startup costs are now around 10k to 15k for permits, bonding, and initial engineering fees. That could be more if the particular landowner wants money up front for a lease. Most but not all private landowners in the Anthracite region have very easy lease terms specificaly to encourage mining on there grounds for the royalty money and in some cases the landowner really loves mining and is just happy to have somebody on there land mining. In Schuylkill county next to a handfull of private landowners the best options as far as ease of working from a buisness standpoint are the county of Schuylkill its self and some of the local municipal water authoritys.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 10:55 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 15, 2011 7:57 am
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Location: Hopkins County Ky.
I can see i need to stop for a bit and educate myself on the difference between anthracite versus bituminous mining.
I am wondering if the mining of anthracite could possibly be a bit similar to rock mining. Or maybe some of the methods could possibly be similar to the techniques employed in sinking or digging a slope.

And yes im located in Hopkins County / West Kentucky. Most of what is termed the "gravy coal" which laid close to the surface (sometimes 75 ft. to 150 ft. deep - i have seen it as shallow as 25 ft. deep) has long been stripped away with not much of this coal left as being acessible for surface mining.
So yes the coal we have here consists of a moderately pitched veins of coal lying anywhere from 200 to 600 feet deep and sometimes a lot deeper.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 11:16 pm 
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Location: Hard coal region, PA
Yeah - i realize you're talking about KY / IL / Midwest, but it PA its actually not that hard or expensive to start a coal mine when you compare it to other businesses... Like Mike A said..


When it comes to starting bitty mine tho, i'm just not sure theres a market for the small independent operations... coalfire?? Is there still any house-coal market out that way?? and then where would a indy operation send the coal for processing? Here we have independent breakers to ship the coal to...

The cost of starting a bitty mine (on an outcrop) may not be very much from a conventional standpoint... (and i literally mean conventional - drill, blast, timber, shovel shovel shovel) but unless you have a strong home heating market im not sure you'd get rid of the coal you put on the ground out there. At least not for a price that would keep the mine running. If you can't sell it for heat, you'd have to sell it for power..and competing with Peabody's thousands and thousands of tons a day contracts ain't gunna be easy!!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 2:07 am 
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Joined: Sun May 11, 2008 9:07 pm
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Location: Nanticoke,Pa.
Kind of funny that this topic came up when it did. I talked to a few people about the mines in Luzrne County and did some research and it seems like alot of the levels in the mines are bone dry. There are alot of open slopes, drifts and airshafts still left in the area. All you would need is to reinstall fans or have extra ones for better air, water pumps, drill an escape hatch and invest heavy in roof bolts wit collapsible steel jacks and your all set to go.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:28 am 
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Joined: Fri Jul 15, 2005 2:34 pm
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Location: Within 60 Miles of the Northern Anthracite Field
"There are alot of open slopes, drifts and airshafts still left in the area. All you would need is to reinstall fans or have extra ones for better air, water pumps, drill an escape hatch and invest heavy in roof bolts wit collapsible steel jacks and your all set to go."


unfortunately not so. been in "a couple abandoned mines" and i can tell you there is no mineable reserves left in them. trust me. you have to leave some left for roof support and that is to the extreme bare minimum now. most of the gangways and tunnels are collapsed and or partially collapsed. reopening one of them would cost so much money and time the little bit of coal youre going to scrape off a left over pillar is nil. anything that was above water when the pumps were shut off in the 60s was totally mined out and robbed in the 70s. alot of rules have changed since then and the chances of opening up a deep mine in the northern field are basically impossible. now travel down south to mike a. territory and thats a different story. have no idea about the bitty field conversation though........

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 5:36 am 
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Location: NEPA
There ia a bit of a problem with reopening old mines, MSHA! Most of the mines around the northern field closed before MSHA or its predecessor MESA was formed. That being said you would need massive amounts of money for seals for the old works that your going to encounter and or a elaborate ventalation system of boreholes, bleeders, etc. . Now as far as a small soft coal mine goes I got to thinking if the seam your chasing after would be good for a blacksmith you would have it made. Tne only thing is you would have to process it yourself and sell it yourself proabably to make the place pay. The next problem would be getting your local MSHA district manager to go along with your mining plans.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:49 am 
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Location: SW Indiana
I think Banks raised a very good point. There doesn't look like there is much of a market for a small mine to sell in.

I heard a story this weekend, where a small surface mine changed hands over that very reason. They didn't have contracts for their coal and were selling to another producer who did. The larger producer never seemed to get them the trucks, so they couldn't ship coal that was on the ground ready to go.

Money was tight. Larger Producer offered to purchase the mine. And you can bet they will get the trucks now! don't fret the fate of the smaller operator, he has other permits that he can mine.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:52 am 
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Location: SW Indiana
Oh and Banks!

There is a small market for home coal here. The amish are looking at it, Pa. Anthracite. And the guys at Summit Breaker said they ship a semi load a year to Northern Indiana.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:07 pm 
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Location: West Virginia
O.K. God I hope your not an inspector. If I owned the coal and could get to it easily then I would mine it. There are some markets for house coal. Some coal companies will buy it from you especially smaller operations. If you drill and blast(hard to get powder these days) then you will not have to wash the coal. There are other ways of shooting coal without powder. Look into Cardox systems. Hand load is the only way to go. Low output but, no overhead either.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 12:36 pm 
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Location: SW Indiana
The cardox system is interesting. Who is using / selling them in the US?

Question: If hand loading; How do you deal with the unsupported roof? There are no rules for putting a CM under unsupported roof, except for depth of cut, which is defined in the Control Plan.

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