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[INFOGRAPHIC] 3 Types of Coal Mining

The coal sector has faced many obstacles through the years and today its no different. The sector continues to endure low prices and tough market condit...

Admin
|Oct 22|magazine6 min read

The coal sector has faced many obstacles through the years and today it’s no different. The sector continues to endure low prices and tough market conditions forcing many companies to cut back on operations and their workforce. The need for coal, however, is still prevalent.

According to the National Mining Association (NMA), the average American uses roughly 3.4 tons of coal each year. In addition, nearly 60 percent of all electricity in the United States is generated from coal.

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The methods for mining coal depends on the location of the deposit. The three primary types are surface, room & pillar and longwall mining. The following infographic breaks down the purpose of each method and what its recovery rate.

Surface/Opencast

As one of the most popular methods of coal mining, the surface technique consists of five main forms: strip mining, open-pit mining, mountaintop removal, dredging and highwall mining.

Room & Pillar

The room & pillar method of coal mining consists of extracting the mineral across a horizontal plane, creating a horizontal array of rooms and pillars. This method is also utilized in iron ore mining and other base minerals. 

Longwall

The preferred choice in underground coal mining is the Longwall technique which accounts for roughly 301 percent of all underground coal production. This process involves a cutting head that moves back and forth across a panel of coal. Once cut, the coal falls onto a flexible conveyor for removal. This method is conducted under hydraulic roof support that advances as the seam is cut.