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Miners Implement Corrective Actions in Response to CPDM Dust Data

NIOSH seeks to learn what individual miners learned from exposure levels

In 2014, the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) enacted a new regulation, “Lowering Miners’ Exposure to Respirable Coal Mine Dust, Including Continuous Personal Dust Monitors” (30 CFR Parts 70, 71, 72, 75, and 90) that contained several progressive phases. One phase required mine operators to use a continuous personal dust monitor (CPDM) for compliance sampling, with another phase reducing the permissible exposure limit of respirable coal mine dust to 1.5 mg/m3 over the working shift. It has been more than one year since mine operations have had to use the CPDM.
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Can Diesels Meet the Challenges of Alternative Power Technologies?

Engine builders believe big diesels will be a vital part of off-road power solutions for the foreseeable future, but they’re not ignoring the appeal of battery-electric and hybrid

In the realm of surface mining, diesel power rules the road — regardless of whether the road is a carefully engineered route for haulers or a pit-bottom path for loaders. Inside and outside the pit, mine utility equipment is generally diesel-powered as well, and off-grid mine sites often depend on diesel-powered generation sources for at least part of their electrical needs.

In other words, when it comes to moving payloads, equipment — and in some cases, electrons — diesels are the 800-lb gorilla that sits near the top of the food chain. The problem is that the gorilla’s hydrocarbon diet is expensive, prone to contamination that wears out engine parts and causes unscheduled downtime, and comes with a lengthy list of adverse environmental impacts. It’s the main reason why mine operators have an ongoing love-hate relationship with diesel power — loving the operational familiarity and the flexibility that only self-powered haul trucks on the surface and cable-free vehicles underground can offer, but hating the expense, high consumables rate and exhaust emissions that are inherent with diesel-fleet operations.
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Lexington Hosts Coal Prep Professionals

CPSA produces its first conference and exhibition on coal preparation

The Coal Preparation Society of America (CPSA) has been working feverishly to organize Coal Processing Technology 2018 (CoalProTec 2018). This year’s must-attend event for prep plant operators as well as professionals involved in other aspects of coal handling includes three days of workshops and presentations taking place at the Lexington Convention Center, in Lexington, Kentucky, April 23-25.

Being centrally located between the Illinois Basin and Appalachian coalfields, most agree that Lexington is a great venue, especially in the spring. The CPSA has brought the elite in coal processing expertise together with equipment, technology and service suppliers to network in a biennial format. A day of educational workshops will provide some background for those wishing to reinforce principles operators may be overlooking in day-to-day operations. The speakers in the keynote session will deliver valuable insight as to the macroeconomic and political forces shaping the U.S. coal industry. Several sessions follow with technical presentations on new plant construction and modifications, coal cleaning and advanced coal byproducts.
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Ramaco Resources Commissions Elk Creek

An Appalachian operator launches a new complex to produce high-quality metallurgical grade coal

The recent market improvement for metallurgical grade coal has allowed coal operators to breathe new life into some Appalachian operations. One of those, Ramaco Resources, has invested more than $75 million to open four new mines and build the Elk Creek prep plant during the last year. The company produces high-quality, low-cost met coal from its Elk Creek and Berwind operations in West Virginia, and it also owns the Knox Creek prep plant in Virginia as well as the RAM reserve in Pennsylvania. While each of these properties have different geological and logistical advantages, Elk Creek is the flagship operation.
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THE ABCs of KSAs

Assessing the self-escape knowledge, skills and abilities of coal miners

What simple step can help to prevent a mine emergency from becoming a mine disaster? Preparation.

Mine emergencies can happen at any moment. Although all mines and mine emergencies are unique, being equipped with an easily adaptable set of knowledge, skills and abilities (KSAs) can help underground coal miners prevent a dangerous situation from becoming a tragedy.

The Mine Improvement and New Emergency Response Act of 2006 (MINER Act) strengthened existing safety and health training regulations and introduced new measures aimed at improving emergency preparedness and response in underground coal mines. Although the MINER Act also required non-specified assessment of the self-escape KSAs of miners, there is no standard protocol dictating how to teach or evaluate these competencies.

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Longwall Production Rebounds in 2017

The numbers of overall faces drops by two, but production increases by nearly 10%

The U.S. coal industry saw overall production grow in 2017 and so did America’s longwall mine operators. After two consecutive years of decline, total longwall production experienced a substantial increase. Collectively, U.S. longwall installations produced 167.8 million tons in 2017, a 9.5% increase over the 153.2 million tons produced in 2016. While this is a positive signal, the sector remains well below the 207-million-ton level it achieved in 2014.

The total number of longwall faces dropped from 44 to 42. That figure includes two tronah mines in Wyoming. Two longwall faces were removed: American Coal’s New Future mine in Illinois and Ohio Valley’s Powhatan No. 6 in Ohio. Year-on-year, the total number of longwall mines dropped from 39 to 37 as five mines operated two longwall faces each.
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