Part of a total $205 million capital improvement project that at Shoemaker mine in 2003 with the initial engineering design, underground construction began in February 2006 with initial preparations to install a crossover belt and the rehabilitation of the 6 North shaft bottom area. The new conveyor system transports all coal production from underground, and replaces an antiquated rail haulage system.

The new conveyor system includes 12 miles of 60-inch mainline belt underground, and 2.5 miles of a 54-inch overland belt system that moves coal to the Shoemaker prep plant along the Ohio River, south of Wheeling, W.Va.

“With this new system in place, along with other capital improvements, Shoemaker mine will be more competitive in the marketplace,” said Nicholas J. DeIuliis, CONSOL Energy executive vice president and COO. “This will enable us to extend the life of the Shoemaker mine and preserve more than 600 mining jobs.”

A group of company officials and employees were on hand to witness the final trip of rail cars transporting the last load of coal out of Shoemaker on January 19, 2010. Other capital improvements made at Shoemaker include an upgraded longwall mining system and upgrades to the river load-out facilities and prep plant. The Shoemaker mine is expected to produce a total of 4.9 million tons of coal in 2010.