More than 2,000 people attended the 2015 Longwall USA International Conference & Exhibition that took place during June at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh. After Hal Quinn, president and CEO, National Mining Association, delivered the keynote address, Coal Age presented the 2015 Longwall USA Top Performers Awards to three longwall mine operators.

The Longwall USA Top Performers Awards are based on three criteria: safety performance, productivity (measured in raw tons per day) in the two prior years (2013 and 2014), and overall production. One award is presented for three categories based on cutting height: low (less than 72 in.), medium (73 to 95 in.), and high (96 in. and greater), based on what was reported in Coal Age’s Longwall Census (See Coal Age, February 2015). The award consists of brass medallion, sculpted by Gary Prazen, mounted on a walnut plaque.

Producing more than 9.9 million raw tons from a single face (2014), Alliance Resources Partners’ Tunnel Ridge mine won the low seam division. Tunnel Ridge posted a productivity level of nearly 32,500 raw tons per day (tpd) with a respectable loss time accident (LTA) rate of 2.95.

The award winner for the medium seam division was Foresight Energy’s Mach No. 1 mine, which produced 11.9 and 12 million raw tons in 2014 and 2013, respectively, from a single face. Mach No. 1’s productivity level amounted to 47,600 and 46,000 raw tpd with LTA rates of 1.78 and 0.45 for 2014 and 2013.

For the high seam category, the Top Performer Award was presented to Foresight Energy’s Deer Run mine, which produced 8.7 and 7.6 million raw tons with a productivity level of 39,500 and 33,100 raw tpd for 2014 and 2013, respectively. This is the first time since the award’s inception that the high seam division award has not been given to a western longwall mine, whose seam heights are usually higher than other districts.

The Mach No. 1 mine The Deer Run mine
The Tunnel Ridge mine, Longwall USA Top Performer Low Seam Division winners (from left to right): Brian Norman, set- up and recovery supervisor; Robert Colaw, longwall maintenance coordinator; Josh Duncan, longwall coordinator; and Troy Hopper, continuous miner section coordinator. The Mach No. 1 mine, Longwall USA Medium Seam Division winner (from left to right): Dwayne Francisco, COO; Jasen Taylor, president-underground operations; Parker Phipps, general manager; Brandon Murphy, superintendent; and Anthony Webb, regional longwall superintendent. The Deer Run mine, Longwall USA Top Performer High Seam Division winner (from left to right): Dwayne Francisco, COO; Mark Cornell, operations manager; Dean Lee, human resources; Jon Carden, human resources; and Anthony Webb, regional longwall superintendent.