Iron Miners
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 Post subject: Re: Ruh-Roh!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:14 pm 
Ok, Thanks! When you used rail, what did you prefer- The diesel, battery, or the electrical?

 Post subject: Re: Ruh-Roh!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:25 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2005 12:41 pm
Posts: 2919
Location: Hard coal region, PA
Ive been on diesel stuff but never used it... always been battery. but in the mines where diesel was being used i hardly even noticed it.

This ain't longwall... this is long hole!

 Post subject: Re: Ruh-Roh!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:50 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:04 pm
Posts: 18
Location: Southern Illinois
Doug wrote:
What you are missing is the amount of ventilation air that is moving and the fact that there is an intake (clean ) side and a return (dirty) side. Miners try to stay out of the return air if at all possible.

FWIW, my mine is a push-pull operation, currently. Which means we have a fan on both the intake (fresh air) and return (dirty air). I don't know the exact numbers, but we are forcing in around 350,000 cfm with our intake and pulling out around 300,000 with the return. The remaining "netural" air (our travelway and belts) exhausts.

By the end of the year we will convert our mine to an exhausting system (return fan only). Right now we are finalizing the fan design. We are looking at around 600,000 cfm at the fan.

To dilute methane and diesel emissions, we push a lot more air than most realize. We are also using 48" and 60" belts moving around 600fpm. Currently our belts are running at about 98% efficiency.

 Post subject: Re: Ruh-Roh!
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2013 9:54 pm 
On Modern Marvels, a salt mine used all 3 types of motors. The diesels that they used were self-rerailing. Fascinating stuff. I beleive the episode was "Mines" or something like that. They also had "Salt". interesting fact- It is considered bad luck to spill salt because salt was once a rare and costly commodity. As such, it was economic waste to spill any. Also, salt is a purifier, a preservative, and it symbolizes the good and lasting qualities of life. It was mixed into the foods used in the religious ceremonies of both the Greeks and Romans. It was taken that the devil had bumped your hand. You threw salt over your shoulder to temporarily blind the devil, and prevent mischief for a while.

 Post subject: Re: Ruh-Roh!
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 7:23 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 12, 2013 9:21 am
Posts: 179
Location: United States
UGMiner Banks wrote:
ive worked with both.. and hands down rail is a major pain in the ass compared to rubber tire. The amount of labor that has to go into grading/ laying/ maintaining rail haulage in phenomenal compared to replacing a tire hear and there. Rail haulage is cool and all, but when a fish plate breaks and derails a loaded 5 tonner or 3, a thousand f*cks will be said. Not to mention a 20 ton car...or the motor. its a constant battle. Also, every move you make has to be thought out with rail equipment, cause theres no turning around! you may think its simple stuff, but its a major pain when you get a half mile past the last switch and realize you needed to stop and switch the motor to the other side of the train. (also extremely time consuming - especially with one motorman, a long trip, and link and pin couplers!) and to top it off, think about the infrastructure necessary to unload rail cars compared to most rubber tire equipment.

and as for the LHDs in rock mines - most rock mines today have a lot of grades in them... ore bodies are very inconsistent generally and in chasing the trend of the vein or body, they have a lot of ramps (slopes) and such that they can easily navigate with rubber tire equipment. its waaaay faster to clean out a heading with an LHD than a mucker and a trip of cars.

lots of factors.


Thanks for your input and points. A lot of things to consider here.

It would be soooo wonderful if mining companies were changing from rail and track-based mining to rubber tired-based mining out of consideration of their workers in an effort to make their jobs easier for them. Yes, that would be nice. Unfortunately, I’m afraid such an assumption might be just a bit naïve.

I strongly suspect they are making the change to save money and evidently rubber tired-based mining has become cheaper than rail. But why? Rail can be so much more efficient that rubber tires. That’s why they ship coal, iron ore, lumber and a variety of products (especially HEAVY products) across the country by rail instead of highway. Shouldn’t the same basic principals occur in mining? I suspect they might.

Perhaps something else is going on here. I have a theory. My theory is that the rubber tired “wart hogs” (LHD’s) used in mines today share a lot of their technology and components with rubber tired trucks, tractors and other equipment used outside the mining industry in transportation and construction. This makes them cheaper because some of those components can be mass-produced in high quantities. High quantity mass production cuts unit costs.

Rail based mining equipment on the other hand doesn’t enjoy this. Their technologies and components are highly unique and not shared by anyone outside the mine. Standard railroads are on such a bigger scale that they wouldn’t share components with rail-based mining equipment either.

Complicating this situation even more is the fact that underground mining itself has probably declined a great deal in the last forty or fifty years. SO, therefore, rail based mining equipment costs have soared in response to diminishing production quotas. Make sense? I think it does but I cannot prove this.

Another thing to consider is that sometimes things like this can go in cycles. Streetcars, for example, almost completely disappeared from North American cites but now some cities are bringing them back again. Brookeville, from what I understand, is now building both new streetcars and mine trammers. So, maybe things might change in future, I guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Finally, after saying all this, rail based mining equipment is *STILL* preferred by some smaler miners like Chris and “Dawna” as they would rather use rail than wheelbarrows or rubber-tired push carts in their mines. Huge, rubber tired wart hogs are not really an option for them in their small mines.

-Fred M. Cain

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