Strip Mining in WV

What we do is a part of strip mining/surface mining. Instead of going underground to mine the coal we use an auger that has humongous drill heads that drill into the coal seam parallel to the ground. As the heads(drills) go in they shoot out coal onto a conveyor. Then on the way out the heads bring more coal and drop it on to the conveyor. The coal is then dumped behind the auger. The auger moves on skids to create the next set of holes. It doesn’t have wheels.
The Coal trucks come and pick up the coal and haul it off to the cleaning plant/tipple. The coal is cleaned there(washed and rock is removed. then it is put on coal trucks or trains and sent out.
At the jobsite after the coal is picked up they send in the rock trucks and dunp trucks. The reclamation begins at this point the holes are filled in and the land is contoured and overseeded. The inspectors then come and check for a period of 5 years to make sure the seed has taken. It looks very much like park land the trees come back the water is constantly tested to make sure the selenium is not to high.
This past year has been a learning experience. I have gone from teaching to running the administrative end of a coal company. We do everything we can to make sure that the land is returned to being conducive to the natural wild life.
I appreciate the hard work of the inspectors. Safety is a very high priority and it is their job to make sure my workers are practicing safety at all times.
I know there have been many publicized mine disasters. I have learned that sometimes these things just happen. The men and women who do this work are very courageous as are there families. My husband is out there everyday making sure our workers are safe. It is a very difficult job because anything can happen.
Last week they watched the earth move. The ground warmed up and the snow started melting and the high wall just started to fall. We were lucky because our spotter caught it in time. Everyone was fine and our equipment was safe.

Two weeks ago the earth moved again. We almost lost the loader but were able to dig it out. Luckily everyone was able to get to safety. That is one advantage of working on the outside. You have a spotter who watches the high wall. He warns everyone and they are usually able to get to safety before the wall comes down.

Journal Comments

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