24th International Conference on Ground Control in Mining, Morgantown, West Virginia, USA, August 2-4, 2005
Authors: T. Vandergrift (AAI) and J. Garcia (Kennecott Energy, Colowyo Mine)
With advances in system design driving higher productivity, safety, and coal recovery, highwall mining is becoming an attractive option for extending reserve life at surface mines. Typically, highwall mining is performed by contract, with the system owner charging the mining company on a per ton basis, plus a mobilization fee. For this arrangement to benefit both parties, geotechnical planning is required to minimize risk to highwall mining personnel and equipment, while maximizing coal recovery. This paper discusses how highwall mining has been successfully implemented at a large surface coal mine in Colorado, including design procedures, operational factors, and productivity. The operation includes an area where four seams are mined in succession from the lowermost upward, requiring careful attention to seam interaction issues.
Downloadable PDF: Highwall Mining in a Multiple-Seam Western United States Setting-Design and Performance