The mines and longwall faces are evaluated on three sets of data: overall mine safety, average daily raw production and total overall production, for the ensuing two years. For 2011, the award was based on the mine’s performance in 2009 and 2010. Three awards were given based on cutting height: High (96 inches and greater), Medium (72 to 95 inches), and Low (71 inches and less). Of the entire group of U.S. longwalls, 15 faces were considered for the low seam category, 17 faces for the medium seam heights, and 13 faces for the high seam conditions.
For the high seam category, the competition was very close. Peabody Energy’s Twentymile mine produced more than 7 million tons per year (tpy) from a single face and Arch Coal’s SUFCO mine produced roughly 6.5 million tpy. The average raw daily production for both mines ranged between 22,000 and 25,000 tpd. The SUFCO mine had a Mine Safety and Health Administration incidence rate (IR) of 0.52 in 2009 and 0.00 in 2010. The award was presented to the SUFCO mine.
In the mid-seam category, Mach Mining in Illinois posted some incredible numbers. Average raw production exceeded 35,000 tpd. The longwall is clearly the most productive U.S. face. Unfortunately, the Mach Mining’s IR was well above the national average. CONSOL Energy’s Robinson Run mine posted average raw production figures in the 25,000- to 30,000-tpd range with an IR that was well below the national average. The Robinson Run mine received the mid-seam award.
In the low seam category, two Murray Energy mines, Powhatan No. 6 and Century, posted competitive production figures with respectable IRs. Three CONSOL Energy mines, McElroy, Bailey and Enlow Fork, posted better average raw daily production in the high 20,000 tpd range. All of the mines also had similar IRs. Each of the mines also operate two longwall faces. The awards are based on face-to-face comparison. The award was given to the mine that had the lowest IR and the highest average daily production from three of four data sets (two face in 2009 and two faces in 2010): Enlow Fork.