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Active Coal Mining Operations / How we produce coal 

How we produce coal

The construction of a mine starts with sinking two shafts and connecting them underground. One shaft is used to transport personnel and material and the other for the mined raw material. The shafts are also vital for ventilation purposes, controlling the mine gas flow and microclimatic conditions underground, and thus ensuring safety. One shaft brings fresh air into the underground system, and the other, equipped with a mine fan, recovers the air back to the surface. Underground, the deposit is divided into horizontal layers or ‘mine floors’, and the coal seam is accessed by a system of tunnels or ‘gateroads’. Coal is mined top-down and from the outer edges to the centre of the shaft using longwall panels. Once mined, the coal is hauled up to the surface using skip buckets. At the coal preparation plant the coal is washed, sorted and processed to meet customer requirements.

1. A coal seam needs to be accessed and demarcated by a set of interconnected underground gateroads. These access routes are excavated by roadheaders. 2. Longwall equipment sets are used to mine coal; kit includes mechanised hydraulic shields, a shearer and an armoured face conveyor. 3. Once processed in a coal preparation plant, the coal is loaded into rail cars and shipped to customers.