Although mine closure today is a rigorously regulated process requiring detailed technical and financial analysis during the planning and operation stages for a mine—and ensuring financial and legal responsibility for post-mining closure—the nation continues to grapple with the effects of past mining practices. Additional research is required to develop and demonstrate more effective and sustainable solutions to the problems of acid mine drainage, mine fires, and the utilization of waste piles from AML sites. In general, the scope of and motivation for research are determined by the relevance and potential impact of the problems that need to be dealt with by these various stakeholders.
Industry participants in mining research include individual companies and mining company associations.
While the federal government continues to have extensive involvement in the regulation of the coal mining industry, its support for mining research has decreased substantially over the past 10 years. At present, federal research is focused primarily on health and safety. Some research is being done on environmental issues, but support for research aimed at advanced mining technologies.
Engineering and Technology Development. Although not exclusively focused on extraction or on coal mining, many of the program outputs were applicable to the extraction phase of the coal fuel cycle. Relatively little is being done by the federal government to address coal preparation issues.
DOE-FE had a solid fuels program, although it tended to fund more advanced work—such as chemical coal cleaning—than processes related to conventional coal preparation. However, there has been no administration request for funding for this area in recent years, and the program is essentially defunct.
Some research programs addressing a variety of mineral separation issues i. There is a low level of support for fundamental research in the earth sciences and engineering disciplines geosciences, material sciences, rock mechanics, etc. Health and Safety. The NIOSH Mining Program has seven areas of health and safety research activity, addressing respiratory diseases, hearing loss, cumulative musculoskeletal injuries, traumatic injuries, disaster prevention, rock safety engineering, and surveillance and training.
Underground coal gasification technology impact on coal reserves in Colombia
Reclamation and Rehabilitation of Abandoned Mined Lands. Among the stated purposes of SMCRA were to support research, training programs, and the establishment of research and training centers in the states on various aspects of mineral production. Although the involvement of OSM with aspects of extraction research is minimal, OSM does have limited technical and applied science activities in support of its regulatory mission.
In particular, OSM, in cooperation with the states, plays a major role with regard to the reclamation and rehabilitation of abandoned mined lands. The environmental problems associated with active and abandoned mines and their abatement, particularly land reclamation and water quality maintenance, and the proper handling and disposal of the spoils and wastes from mining operations e. Environmental Protection Agency.
EPA is also involved in a program to promote the capture and utilization of coal bed methane. Overall, coal mining research in EPA is limited to support for its regulatory role. Mining Regulation. The Mine Safety and Health Administration, in the Department of Labor, provides technical support and training services to its personnel and to personnel from the mining industry through its Pittsburgh Safety and Health Technology Center and the National Mine Health and Safety Academy.
The direct involvement of MSHA in funding mining research is limited because of its primary regulatory role. However, MSHA undertakes field investigations, laboratory studies, and cooperative research activities on health and safety issues in support of its inspection and technical support functions. It also supports state miner training activities through its state grants program.
State government involvement in coal mining and processing research is primarily dependent on the importance of the mining industry to each particular state. The major coal-producing states—Wyoming, West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and Illinois—have or have had agencies with specific responsibilities for health, safety, and environmental issues associated with coal mining.
Further, mining industry organizations in these states work closely with state agencies to support research programs that address the specific needs of coal reserve estimation and coal mining operations. Some state governments have provided grants for coal processing research in academic departments e.
The mining industry is truly international—not only are mining operations carried out globally, but there is considerable capital, knowledge, and mined-materials flow across international boundaries to satisfy the global demand for mined and processed materials.
The coal industries in different countries have much in common, particularly with regard to health, safety, and environmental issues. Because of these similarities, there is considerable exchange of research results—developments in one country are quickly incorporated into mining practices in other countries. This global interaction is particularly facilitated by mining equipment manufacturers.
World Coal Resources
The consolidation of coal mining equipment manufacturers over the past three decades and the broad applicability of equipment across a range of mining situations have led manufacturers to work with mining clients and their own suppliers to develop evolutionary improvements to their products.
In addition, equipment manufacturers invest substantial resources to improve the durability and reliability of mining equipment. Some equipment manufacturers have worked in partnership with government agencies and mining companies to develop and demonstrate new concepts e. For some equipment manufacturers, mining equipment is only one of many product lines. The applied engineering research and development work that they conduct is generally fundamental to their production and materials processes, and the research is often proprietary and not generally available to the wider industry.
Cross-industry research under the aegis of coal companies or coal industry organizations, or with support from industry organizations, appears to be minimal. There are no longer organizations such as Bituminous Coal Research, Inc. BCR that used to work on coal mining and coal preparation issues. Several coal companies work in partnership with government agencies and academic institutions on coal mining research projects.
The importance to researchers of access to operating mines and input from mining company experts is particularly worth noting. The funds are paid to Australian Coal Research Ltd. ACR , a company established by the industry to manage all aspects of the program. The research projects, which are conducted by university, industrial, and government-affiliated researchers, are monitored by industry representatives. Under this agreement, the government agrees to provide a certain level of funding each year to the CRC, and CRC participants agree to undertake certain activities and contribute specified personnel and resources.
This recognized the importance of developing research priorities for new technologies and joint sponsorships of chosen projects, and resulted in an NMA-DOE partnership that supported several roadmaps as part of the Mining IOF program. The more difficult mining conditions that will be encountered in the future will require improved methods to protect the health and safety of mine work-.
A range of factors increase health and safety risks to the coal mining workforce, including the introduction of new equipment and systems; the commencement of mining in virgin areas; the infusion of new workers; and the mining of multiple seams, seams that are thinner, thicker, or deeper than those customarily mined at present and new seams that underlie or overlie previously mined-out seams. All of these factors are likely to apply to some degree in future mines, irrespective of whether the higher production scenarios suggested in some forecasts eventuate.
If they do materialize, then these risks are likely to become even more pronounced. There are major knowledge gaps and technology needs in the areas of survival, escape, communications systems both surface-to-underground and underground-to-underground , and emergency preparedness and rescue. Additional risk factors that are likely to apply in the deeper mines of the future are the potential hazards related to methane control, dust control, ignition sources, fires, and explosions.
Greater understanding and better prediction of strata behavior to prevent unanticipated 12 roof collapse, particularly problems associated with roof and side fall during thick seam extraction, are essential for maintaining and improving worker safety. Federal support for health and safety research significantly decreased about a decade ago, and has essentially remained constant since that time. Recommendation: Health and safety research and development should be expanded to anticipate increased hazards in future coal mines. This should be coupled with improved training of the mining workforce in all aspects of mine safety.
Roof collapse is anticipated during longwall mining after the coal has been removed see Appendix E. Most mining health and safety research by the federal government is carried out by the Mining Program at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. Technology-related activities in the Mine Safety and Health Administration are limited to technical support and training services for its personnel and those from the mining industry. Coal mining has environmental impacts on air, water, and land.
Actions taken to meet federal and state environmental regulations already respond to and ameliorate many of these effects. However, there are gaps in the knowledge base related to a range of environmental issues that need to be addressed, and future changes in environmental requirements may drive the need for new coal mining and beneficiation technology.
As mining extracts coal from deeper and operationally more difficult seams by both surface and underground methods, it is likely that many existing environmental issues and concerns will be exacerbated. New concerns, particularly related to greater disturbance of hydrologic systems, ground subsidence, and waste management at mines and preparation plants, are likely to arise. Inadequate understanding of post-mining strata behavior and the associated hydrologic consequences of mining in both surface and underground mines affects mine permitting, mine development, environmental mitigation, and post-mining land use, including use for waste management.
Research offers considerable potential to mitigate the effects of past mining practices, particularly acid mine drainage on abandoned mine lands. The regulatory environment framed by such statutes as the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts and technical support programs administered by both state and federal agencies, and implemented by mining companies through their compliance practices, are inadequately supported by existing research programs.
Recommendation: Additional research is needed to mitigate the adverse environmental impacts associated with past, existing, and future coal mining and processing. Research activities should focus particularly on developing techniques to mitigate the alteration and collapse of strata overlying mined areas, to model the hydrological impacts of coal mining, to improve mine mapping and void detection, to improve the stability of. The committee recommends that OSM should be the lead agency in this effort, and it should coordinate closely with related EPA and state research activities.
The productivity of U. The sustained production and productivity increases that followed these changes resulted from incremental improvements in equipment and mining practices by mining companies and equipment manufacturers, and there has been little research and development on truly advanced mining technologies. The development of advanced technologies, such as thin-seam underground mining technology or dry processing methods for western surface-mined coals, will present opportunities to recover a significant portion of potentially recoverable coal that currently is not extracted and may be permanently lost.
In situ extraction or utilization methods, while they have not found broad application in the past, may become attractive as more easily mined reserves are exhausted. Many advanced mining technologies with the potential to reduce mine hazards, such as remote sensing, continuous monitoring at the mine face, remote control, and autonomous systems, also have the potential to increase production and productivity and improve resource recovery. Although the national coal resource is truly vast, the economically recoverable reserve base will depend on mining costs that in turn are determined by labor, environmental, and technological factors.
Small percentage increases in coal recovery through improved coal preparation processes and improved mining methods, perhaps including in situ extraction, have the potential to significantly expand economically recoverable reserves of both eastern and western coals. The global transfer of coal mining and processing technology within the industry is facilitated by international equipment manufacturers, who work. However, there is little evidence of the efficient transfer of technologies from outside the mining industry.
This is at least partly due to the relatively small market that the coal mining industry represents to potential technology suppliers and the scarcity of coal mining research at academic institutions and national laboratories. Although there is currently little federal funding for advanced mining technology to improve resource recovery, in the past the Department of Energy successfully partnered with the National Mining Association as part of the Mining Industry of the Future program.
In addition, there are government-industry-academic cooperative models in other countries that are successful in directing and funding mining research e. Research to develop advanced mining technologies requires not only cooperation among relevant federal agencies, but also participation by academic institutions as well as funding, guidance, and technology transfer by industry.
Role of the states and territories
The DOE Office of Fossil Energy should be the lead federal agency and should coordinate with the National Science Foundation, OSM, NIOSH, academic institutions, and the coal industry to ensure that all research activities carefully consider the environmental, reclamation, and health and safety aspects of coal mining. Coal will continue to provide a major portion of energy requirements in the United States for at least the next several decades. It is imperative that accurate information describing the amount, location, and quality of the coal resources and reserves be available to fulfill energy needs.
It is also important that the United States extract its coal resources efficiently, safely, and in an environmentally responsible manner. A renewed focus on federal support for coal-related research, coordinated across agencies and with the active participation of the states and industrial sector, is a critical element for each of these requirements.
Coal focuses on the research and development needs and priorities in the areas of coal resource and reserve assessments, coal mining and processing, transportation of coal and coal products, and coal utilization. Based on feedback from you, our users, we've made some improvements that make it easier than ever to read thousands of publications on our website.
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Sign up for email notifications and we'll let you know about new publications in your areas of interest when they're released. In summary, Stantec used previously reported September 24, and by way of corresponding NI Technical Report filings coking coal resources and conceptual mine plans taken from a PEA prepared by Norwest, to exploit the coal resources using a combination of open pit and underground mining methods. The study was up-dated by preparing current scoping-level cost estimates and economic analyses. The Huguenot PEA is preliminary in nature and includes Inferred mineral resources that are considered to be too geologically speculative to be subject to economic considerations that would enable them to be categorized as mineral reserves.
There is no certainty that the forecast results stated in the Huguenot PEA will be realized. This news release has been reviewed by each of Derek Loveday, P. Colonial Coal is a publicly traded coal corporation in British Columbia that focuses primarily on coking coal projects. Additional information can be found on the Company's website www. Information set forth in this news release may involve forward-looking statements. The sollition to this problem is neither simpie nor suaightforward and in - fact Sabourin noted that tliere are almost as many.
It is beyond the scope of this paper to review all proposed solutions, although it is worth noting, that in many cases interim solutions onlg are suggested, suc! After each A resource class system has been defined for use in the study. Should the Error limits for the less restrictive classes B and C have been area af the block under study surpass the upper limit of ciass A assigned arbitrarily although they follow recommendations put for- without obtaining- the necessary.
In order to maximise the resource quanti Table 1: Preliminary resource classification criteria. A series of Codes. Deihl and David defined the following steps for a geostalistical classification of resource? Determination of relevant parameters such as coal thickness ar An undeveloped brown coal deposit was analysed according to ash content. Review of raw data and preparation of basic data files. The deposit was sampled an tin irregular grid by 91 drill halcs extending over a region 7. Classical statistical analysis of parameter data and variogram inorih..
Three major coal plies were calcuiation. Classification results for the iowest ply only are dis- 4. Determination of the outline of presently feasible resources by cussed. Figures 4 a and 4 b show the iocations of expioratory drill 5. Funher sub-division of the areas defined in point 4. Using this type of arbiuary assignment it can be seen that category of geologicai assurance with rcspect to: areas of a deposit can be placed in a number of different classes of a dimensions, and resource depending on the range of influence seleded.
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This IhigI,lights the need for an objective method for classifying resources. Calculation of in-situ and recoverable tonnages of each block weir: also indicated. Analysis of the seam thickness contours defined in point 5 and compilation of total quantities for each i;i:ure 5 , indicates that no valid reason exisu, based on current class ot resource. At first examination, the contours af estimation errors indicate that the possibility of any significant resources falling in the measured category is slight. Classification of h e deposit was carried out using the geosta- tistically based computer program using square block iterations with a side dintension of m.
The results have been plotted and are presented in Figure 9 and Table 2. The majority of h e regions assigned to the various classes closely follows the distribution which would be expected from contours of relative error Figure 8.
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As expected only a very small region has been classified as A class, a total of 2. What is at first glance surprising is that the A class region does not correspond U, the area of highest drilling density. This may be easily explained by the fact that the classification is based on relative precision erroriestimate rather than error alone. For this reason the class of resource to which a paiticular region is aisigned is a function of both the dciliing density and the seam thickness in that region. A number of regions near the deposit boundary remain unclassified. It should be noted, however, that h e deposit boundary tends to be a region of high unceilainty.
This is reflected by the fact lllai with few exceptions, regions near the boundary are classified into the least rcslrictive classes of resource. For this depo- sit, and with knowledge of the existence of coal seam continuity, it is recominended that unclassified areas which fall within the deposit boundary be considered as fdling within the lowest iestrictive class 0. Such locations exist due to isolated thinning of the deposit or a local decrease in drilling density. Whatever the reason for the existence of a particular isolated region it is clear that each should be given Figure 7 : Kriged seam thickness contours based on soom close individual attention at the final stage in the classification pio- m blocks - Case Study 1 cess.
Some subjective judgement is at present considered anavoid- able in the ueatment of such regions leading to the conclusion that A class B class C class U ciass TK Area Voi. Bik TK Area Vol. Blk TK Area Vol. Blk TK Area Voi.