WorldCoal, September 2009
Author:  Tom Vandergrift (AAI)

As open-pit coal mines reach their economic stripping limit, operators sometimes consider alternatives, such as auger mining or highwall mining, to recover additional coal.  Highwall mining with rectangular openings offers several advantages over augering, including steeping/guidance capabilities, the ability to adjust to varying seam height and increased penetration beneath the highwall.  With these advantages, production of 200,000 short tpm and penetration beneath the highwall of 1600 ft have been routinely achieved.

In this decade, Agapito Associates, Inc. (AAI) has provided geotechnical and operational expertise to over 25 highwall mining projects in the US and India.  Maximising recovery from a highwall mining operation requires careful geotechnical and operational planning.  A case study example of this process and discussion of the issues involved are presented below…


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