Third Right Longwall Panel in Sunnyside's No. 1 Mine

Huntsman, Lynn
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
INTRODUCTION The Sunnyside mines of Kaiser Steel Corp. are lo¬cated on the west flank of the Book Cliff Range, a tongue of the Wasatch mountain range in Utah. The mines are 193.12 air km (120 air miles) southeast of Salt Lake City and 40.23 km (25 miles) east of the town of Price. The area has a semiarid climate with an an¬nual rainfall of 304.8 to 381 mm (12 to 15 in.) and a temperature range of -23.3 to 32.2°C (-10 to 90°F). The base of the Book Cliff Range is approximately 1981 m (6500 ft) in elevation with some mountain peaks in excess of 3048 m (10,000 ft) (Fig. 1). The Sunnyside mines were opened in the late 1890s and have been operated continuously since that time. Kaiser Steel leased the No. 2 mine in 1942 and pur¬chased the entire property in 1950. There are three mines adjacent to one another, each with its separate access, ventilation, and haulage. The three mines en¬compass an area extending 12.87 km (8 miles) along the outcrop and dipping northeasterly 2.41 to 3.22 km (11/z to 2 miles) into the Book Cliffs. During 1975, only the No. I and No. 3 mines were operating to sup¬ply 908 184.7 t/a (1,000,000+ stpy) of clean coal to the Kaiser Steel mill at Fontana, CA. Sunnyside coal is blended with coal from the Kaiser Steel mine near Raton, NM, and with purchased coal from noncompany sources to form the mix for the coke ovens. At that time, Sunnyside operated three longwall units and five to seven continuous miner units. Typical production for that time came from one miner unit pillaring an area not conducive to longwall mining; one or two miner units on construction or modernization projects, and the remaining units used to develop future longwall panels. Longwall mining has been a part of the Sunnyside scene since 1961 when the first panel was set up in the lower Sunnyside seam of the No. 3 mine. Through 1975, 27 longwall panels were mined (Fig. 2). Of the more than 47 173 604 t (52,000,000 st) of clean coal that were taken from the property through 1975, 6 350 292.9 t (7,000,000 st) were mined by longwall methods. Coal was brought to the surface in 4.5-t (5-st) mine cars and crushed to -152.4 mm (-6 in.) before entering the preparation plant. Coarse coal is cleaned by Baum jigs and fine coal (-28 mesh) is cleaned in flotation cells. The coal is reduced to 50.8 x 0 mm (2 x 0 in.) and belted to an aboveground storage pile with a ca¬pacity of approximately 113 398.1 t (125,000 st). The coal is gravity fed through two 1.52-m (5-ft) diam culverts directly into railroad cars, which pass beneath the storage pile through an arched excavation. Eighty-four 90.7-t (100-st) cars make up a unit train which makes the round trip to the steel mill in four days. Additional trains are scheduled in as demands dictate. Loading rates in excess of 13 607.8 t/h (15,000 stph) have been attained. Geology The coal seams of this area are of Cretaceous age and are classed as a medium volatile bituminous coal. coal, with a sulfur content less than 1 % and 6 to (20-mile) zone of the Book Cliffs, and this area is owned or under lease by either Kaiser Steel or US Steel. Coal in adjacent areas is noncoking but an excellent steam coal, with a sulfur content of less than 1 % and 6 to 7% ash. Sunnyside coal contains 40% volatile, 53% carbon, less than 1 % sulfur, and 51/2 to 61/2 % ash after washing. There are two minable seams throughout most of the Sunnyside property known locally as the upper and lower Sunnyside. Separation between the seams varies from less than 300 mm (1 ft) near the southern boundary adjacent to the US Steel Columbia mine, to over 12.19 m (40 ft) in areas of the No. 3 mine in the center of the Sunnyside property. The upper seam varies in height from 1.2 to 1.98 m (4 to 61/2 ft) while the lower seam varies in height from 1.52 to 4.28 m (5 to 14 ft) in areas of No. I mine where the two seams apparently come together. The majority of early work was con¬centrated in the upper seam which has a stronger roof and a lower sulfur content. When Kaiser Steel began mining the No. 3 mine in the early 1950s, it mined in the lower seam beneath the old workings with conven¬tional and continuous mining equipment. Numerous bounces and pressure points created by unextracted pillars and barriers in the upper seam made this a low¬production, high-cost mine and brought about the ad¬vent of the first longwall system. The first unit, while small by today's standards, successfully mined panels that had been all but given up and saved the mine from closure. There were areas that could not even be mined by longwall because of the erratic extraction in the upper seam. The system was successful enough to allow operations to gain access to and develop virgin areas of the upper seam. Development of longwall mining in the No. 3 mine has been confined to the upper seam since late 1964. With the almost complete extraction afforded by the longwall system, it is felt the lower seam can be successfully worked in future years (Fig. 3). In most of No. 1 mine, only the lower seam (or lower seam and upper seam combined) is minable, except in the northwest portion where a rock split has again separated the seam into two 1.83 to 2.13-m (6 to 7-ft) thick beds. In this area, the upper seam or upper split is being mined. The separation between seams at the present workings in this area varies from 0.609 to 6.1 m (2 to 20 ft). It is hoped that most of the lower split can be mined using shield supports and/or what¬ever new technology is developed in the coming years. The coal seams in this area dip to the northeast at an average grade of 10%. The dip near the outcrop reaches 22% and gradually decreases downdip. Over¬burden ranges from a few meters at the outcrop to 762 m (2500 ft) over some of the deeper workings. In the next several years, some overburden will be in excess of 914 m (3000 ft) as the lower mine workings extend ever deeper under the Book Cliffs. To cope with the
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