|Summary / Abstract
||Innovative mining technology came to Texas in the form of bucket wheel excavator/cross-pit spreader systems. Texas Utilities Mining Company put the first system to work at its Big Brown Mine in December 1985. The second such system was put into operation at the Monticello Mine in February 1991.
The cross-pit spreader systems are mobile, electrically powered, excavation and conveyor systems, the principal components of which include bucket wheel excavators (BVE) and an across-the-pit conveyor (spreader). These crawler mounted machines operate as a unit; the BVE's excavate overburden, feed it via conveyors to the spreader which in turn conveys the material across the open pit and onto the developing spoil bank. The system at the Big Brown Mine is composed of 2 BVE's and an across-the-pit conveyor while the Monticello system is made up of 1 BVE and a spreader. The BVE's prestrip overburden preparing a dragline bench for the final removal of overburden.
Numerous evaluations, including lignite production requirements, economics, overburden characteristics, rehandle reduction, spoil stability, and the compatibility with dragline operations, led to the selection of the cross-pit spreader system at the Big Brown Mine. The system has proven itself as a viable and economical means of prestripping. The system's success at the Big Brown Mine led to the development of a second such system at Monticello.
The advent of the cross-pit spreader system is viewed by Texas Utilities Mining Company as a viable solution to recovering deeper lignite reserves in a safe and economical manner.