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|In order to fully understand why Amax Coal puts such extreme emphasis on the drilling and blasting programs at each of our mines, we must review the past. This paper will discuss the drilling and blasting techniques we used in the 1970s and their evolution to current practices. As time progressed, major changes influenced the surface mining of coal through new more restrictive governmental controls and local communities organising into groups with two goals in mind, one to shut down the mines and the second to try and get rich by making false and unjust damage suits against the mines. In virtually all of our midwest surface operations we have at one time or presently are facing litigation that has reached into the millions of dollars. Amax Coal has worked in co-operation with the United States Bureau of Mines in the areas of blast vibration, shot design, highwall safety, blast casting studies and many more. Today we are continuing to work with Dr David Siskind and his expert staff seeking answers to old and new problems addressing the blasting of overburden and parting seams.|