Surface and Underground Coal Mining
Mining is the process of removing coal from the ground. There are two types of mining: underground mining and surface mining. When the coal seam is fewer than 125 feet under the surface, it is mined by surface mining. Coal that is deeper than 125 feet is removed from the ground by underground mining. SBM can provide the surface and underground coal mining machine for sale.
Surface coal mining
Surface mining is used when a coal seam is located close to the surface. Heavy equipment is used to clear the land of trees, shrubs and topsoil. Holes are drilled into the rock and explosives are placed in these holes. The explosion breaks up the dirt and rock called overburden.
Large earth-moving machines move the overburden to expose the coal seam. When the coal is uncovered, bulldozers and shovels scoop up the coal and load it into large trucks. All of the coal is mined. In 2000, there were six surface mines in Illinois. The surface mines produced 3,800,000 tons of coal and employed 330 miners.
Underground coal mining
Underground mining is used when the coal seam lies deep in the earth. In an underground mine only some of the coal is removed. The coal that remains helps support the mine roof. Underground mines look like a system of tunnels. The tunnels are used for traveling throughout the mine, moving coal from place to place and allowing air to circulate in the mine.
The coal that is mined is put on conveyor belts. The conveyor belts take the coal to the surface. A conveyor belt takes coal out of the mine. The pillars are covered with a white powdered limestone to prevent spontaneous combustion.