Welcome to the Mine
Do you envision shovels and pick axes when you picture mining?
Think again. The mining profession has evolved over the years,
utilizing innovative machinery that demands highly skilled mining
Getting to the Coal
Eighty-eight percent of our coal is produced using longwall
mining. Longwall systems have their own hydraulic roof supports for
overlying rock that advance with the machine as mining progresses.
Rock that is no longer supported by the coal that has been removed
is allowed to fall behind the operation in a controlled manner.
This technical system uses a shearer that cuts 1,000 feet of
coal into a single slice around one-two meters thick. Sensors
detect how much coal remains in the seam while robotic controls
enhance efficiency. The coal then falls onto a conveyor belt that
transports it to a preparation plant for cleaning and
How Does the Roof Stay Up?
An integral part of the longwall mining process is the
continuous mining machines. These units are used to carve out the
longwall panels by driving "entries" into the coal seam. Entries
are tunnels that crisscross an underground mine, providing access
for miners and equipment, streams of air for ventilation purposes,
the dimensions of longwall panels and escape routes.
At certain CONSOL Energy and contract mines, traditional surface
mining techniques using small stripping shovels, front-end loaders
and dump trucks mine coal along ridge tops and transport it to
preparation facilities. Most of these operations are located in
central and southern West Virginia, eastern Kentucky and southwest
Moving Coal from the Mine
Longwall Mining Advantages
- Safer environment for miners: The longwall
mining system consists of hydraulic jacks that support the roof
where miners are working.
- Controlled subsidence: Subsidence caused by
longwall mining is largely predictable which allows for better
planning and accountability.
- Improved resource recovery: Longwall mining
can recover up to 100 percent of coal compared to around 60 percent
when using the room and pillar method.