Underground mining hard rock and Underground mining soft rock Mantrip used for transporting miners within an underground mine Sub-surface mining consists of digging tunnels or shafts into the earth to reach buried ore deposits. Ore, for processing, and waste rock, for disposal, are brought to the surface through the tunnels and shafts. Sub-surface mining can be classified by the type of access shafts used, the extraction method or the technique used to reach the mineral deposit. Drift mining utilizes horizontal access tunnels, slope mining uses diagonally sloping access shafts, and shaft mining utilizes vertical access shafts.
History of coal mining in southern Appalachia, and how it radically transformed the region. Early Appalachian explorers mentioned the fine veins of coal that spread throughout the region.
Thomas Jefferson even referred to the abundance of coal in his Notes on Virginia. But in the 18th and early 19th centuries, there was little use for coal, other than in blacksmith fires.
But when the Civil War ended, the United States entered a tremendous industrialization period, and coal was desperately needed to feed the factories and railroads that were spreading across the country like wildfire. Capitalists from the urban centers of the Northeast, South and Midwest descended in droves into rural areas such as Southern Appalachia to tap into its human and natural resources.
The first coal mines in Southern Appalachia were run by small local operators with little financing. After the Civil War, however, independent coal barons from outside the region set up shop throughout the hills, with better equipment and deeper pockets. At the turn of the century, many independent operations consolidated into larger ones.
This set the stage for the growth of large mining corporations such as U. Steel in later years. As World War I escalated around the globe, the demand for coal from Southern Appalachia grew to unprecedented heights. At the height of the coal boom, there were nearly 12, mines operating in the region, employing overmen.
Mines in the early days were more primitive and dangerous than the more mechanized mines of today. Miners would dig and blast their way into a hillside, shoring up the walls and ceiling of the tunnel with heavy wooden timbers that they cut from the surrounding forest.
They used hand drills to prepare holes to set explosive charges to dislodge the coal. Mules, and later mining cars, were employed to pull the coal from the depths of the mine shaft.
As valuable as mules were, however, they were occasionally sacrificed for the safety of the miners.
As mining operations would shut down for the evening, methane gas would sometimes build up in the mine shaft overnight. To ensure that there was no gas inside, a mule would be sent into the mine first thing in the morning with an open flame carbide or oil strapped on its body. When the men would hear an explosion or see a smoking mule running out of the shaft, they knew the coast was clear.
To handle the influx of workers, mining companies built company homes for them and their families.
They were simple, monotonous, clapboard homes with only one drop light on the porch. Coal was supplied for cooking, and food was either purchased in the company store or grown on the hillsides.
To this day, the remains of many of these old company towns can be seen throughout Southern Appalachia. Although life in the company towns was a step up for the more impoverished Appalachian families, most found it to be a meager existence.
Mothers and children were typically dressed in rags. Some companies responded with intimidation and violence to keep their workers in line. But it was an over expansion of the coal industry during the early part of the century that finally led to its collapse.
Prices dropped, and coal companies slashed wages to compete and protect profits. Thousands of mines went bankrupt, closed completely or were consolidated into larger mines.
Although World War II brought a temporary boom to the coal industry, the companies began using more efficient mining machines instead of manpower. Large national industries replaced coal with natural gas and fuel oil, while railroads replaced steam with diesel-powered locomotives.
As a result, mine workers migrated out of the region in droves, while other Appalachian miners and their families returned to a life of farming, falling into poverty and malnutrition. Government offered financial aid to these displaced miners and their families.
This federal assistance program has become an ever-present reality in Appalachian life to this day. Coal mining continues in the Southern Appalachian region today. The physical scars of mechanized strip mining can be seen throughout the hills.
But it is the social and economic scars on the region itself that remain below the surface. For more information on coal mining history in Appalachia and elsewhere, check out this site: Features information on Kentucky coal mining history, as well as links to related sites across the country.
You can help keep the stories coming by making a donation to The Moonlit Road.Arch Coal (ACI) is the second largest U.S. coal producer. Through our national network of mines, we contribute 16% of America's annual coal supply.
We strive to operate the world's safest and most responsible low-sulfur, clean coal mines. NRG Metals Inc. is an exploration stage company focused on the advancement of lithium brine projects in Argentina.
It is currently drilling the 29, hectare ( acre) Salar Escondido Lithium Project, in Catamarca province where the company recently completed a meter rotary hole, as described in the Company’s press release dated May 8, Murray Energy Corporation and its Subsidiary Companies employ approximately 6, Americans and currently operate thirteen active coal mines, consisting of eleven underground longwall mining systems and forty-six continuous mining units in Ohio, Illinois, Kentucky, Utah, and West Virginia.
The Ruby Mercantile was first opened in the late ’s by a man named George Cheney. In , a large body of high-grade ore was discovered in the “Montana Mine” by J. W.
Bogan and company, who pronounced the Montana Mine to . South America mining news. Explore related South America articles for more information on the South America mining industry.
The MMD group of companies is a world leading specialist in the processing and reducing of natural and manufactured minerals using Sizer technology.