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Augur (or Punch) Mining
A form of unmanned underground mining offering minimal capital cost and relatively short start up periods. Large augers or remote-controlled mine equipment bore into coal seams from roadways established on the floor of surface exposures.

Bank Cubic Metres (BCM)
The volume of waste rock above and between coal seams in an open-pit mine is commonly measured in bank cubic metres.

Breakers (Rotary)
Raw coal mined in open pits is often tumbled in large rotary screens where unwanted large rocks mixed with coal during extraction process are removed prior to the coal being delivered to a processing plant.

Clean (Product) Coal
Coal which has been processed in a plant in order to meet a sales contract product specification and is ready to load onto railcars or other transportation means.

Dryers
Dryers normally fuelled by natural gas or coal are commonly a component of coking coal processing plants. They are used to remove the moisture content of product coal prior to loading onto unit trains for shipment from ocean terminals.

Geotechnical Testing
Geotechnical studies are undertaken during the planning and operation of open-pit coal mines. Some of the more common subjects for geotechnical tests are: soil stability, rock stability and strength, ground water, sedimentation control.

Highwall
The deepest part of the perimeter of an open pit mine.

In Situ Coal
Coal found in its natural state prior to mining.

Load Outs
Facilities comprising storage silos, weight meters and conveyors used to load coal onto unit trains.

Longwall mining
An automated form of underground coal mining characterized by high recovery and extraction rates, feasible only in relatively flat-lying, thick, and uniform coalbeds. A high-powered cutting machine is passed across the exposed face of coal, shearing away broken coal, which is continuously hauled away by a floor-level conveyor system. Longwall mining extracts all machine-minable coal between the floor and ceiling within a contiguous block of coal, known as a panel, leaving no support pillars within the panel area. Panel dimensions vary over time and with mining conditions but currently average about 900 feet wide (coal face width) and more than 8,000 feet long (the minable extent of the panel, measured indirection of mining). Longwall mining is done under movable roof supports that are advanced as the bed is cut. The roof in the mined-out area is allowed to fall as the mining advances.

Open Pit Mining
The common form of mining in Western Canada involves specialized fleets of mobile equipment to drill, blast, load and haul large volumes of rock and coal.

PCI Coal
Pulverized Coal Injection.

Product Coal Specifications
– Negotiated maximum and minimum values for ASH, VOLATILE, FIXED CARBON, SULPHUR, TOTAL MOISTURE and FREE SWELLING INDEX are usually defined on coking coal sales contracts. Coking coal is normally sold at a “Free on Board” basis meaning at the sellers port terminal where it is often tested by an independent laboratory for the above specifications. Variance beyond contract specifications may lead to penalty charges or in extreme cases the rejection of purchase by the buyer.

Room-and-pillar mining
The most common method of underground mining in which the mine roof is supported mainly by coal pillars left at regular intervals. Rooms are places where the coal is mined; pillars are areas of coal left between the rooms. Room-and-pillar mining is done either by conventional or continuous mining.

Run of Mine (Raw) Coal
Mined coal available for or delivered to a processing plant. Many operations will subject the mined coal to sizing and pre-cleaning with screening systems or rotary breakers prior to delivery to processing plants.

Sedimentation Ponds
These are man-made ponds constructed to catch and retain surface drainage in order that sediments in the drainage may settle to the bottom of the pond and not be discharged into streams or rivers. They are normally placed at strategic locations surrounding open-pit mine waste dumps to safeguard against increased sedimentation of surrounding water courses.

Specific Gravity (Rock & Coal)
The density or specific gravity of rock and coal are important in the operation and design of processing plants where dense liquid media are often used to segregate coal and rock mixtures. Specific gravities are also applied to volumes in the calculation of coal reserves where the relationship between ash content and specific gravity are often applied.

Strip Ratio
The stripping ratio is the most influential economic factor in the evaluation and planning of open-pit coal mines. It represents the volume of rock both above and within (partings) coal seams expressed in Bank Cubic Metres (BCMs) which must be mined to obtain 1 tonne of raw or clean coal. The clean coal stripping ratio is more indicative of a mine’s performance as it includes the expected performance of the mine’s processing plant. Current Western Canadian open-pit coking coal mines typically operate with clean coal stripping ratios of between 7 and 8 to 1.

Sulfur
Coal sulfur occurs in three forms: organic, sulfate, and pyritic. Organic sulfur is an integral part of the coal matrix and cannot be removed by conventional physical separation. Sulfate sulfur is usually negligible. Pyritic sulfur occurs as the minerals pyrite and marcasite; larger sizes generally can be removed by cleaning the coal.

Swell Factors
Blasting of waste volumes, measured in bank cubic metres, is undertaken to produce material capable of being loaded into haul trucks. Swell factors are applied to the blasted rock to adjust for its volume increase when blasted.

Tailings
Particles of unwanted rock removed during the processing of coal.

Tailings Ponds
Man-made structures which contain tailings and water and are designed to allow tailing particles to settle to the bottom of the ponds.

Underground Mining
Underground coal mining involves specialized equipment which usually is restricted to excavating within the roof and floor of the coal seams being mined leaving areas of coal or pillars to support the mining operations from caving in.

Wash (Processing) Plants
Coal plants segregate the mined coal into different size categories and on mixing it with water apply different mechanical processes and equipment to separate the coal from rock or high ash coal particles.

Waste
Rock found above and between coal seams being mined within an open-pit mine boundary.

Waste Dumps
Locations which are selected as close as practical to the limits of an open-pit mine where waste rock is placed by haul trucks.


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