Toby Cressman and Michelle Burich, Komatsu Mining Corp.

With the increased production and rates of longwall panel retreat, faster entry-development rates for longwall gateroads are key to ensure the next longwall panel is ready prior to the completion of the existing longwall panel. Murray Energy Corp. in collaboration with Komatsu have installed a new rapid- entry development system, including a 14ED25 simultaneous cut and bolt Entry Driver and an FCT (flexible conveyor train) continuous haulage system, which increases the rates of advance by providing continuous cutting, loading and conveying of coal throughout the shift. Productivity comparison models were developed from underground studies of existing mining systems at both Harrison and Marion County mines. The model indicated a potential increase of up to 70% in development rates over the existing mining system forecasting a baseline of 225 feet per shift for the rapid entry development system. Coordination of equipment delivery and assembly was established between mine and KMC personnel to ensure a successful section startup during late November 2018. Initial operations and training, on one shift per day, achieved up to 64 ft per operating hour. By January, the mining system was averaging more than 205 ft per shift with two record shifts of 342 and 372 ft per shift.

This paper reviews the equipment and operating system with simultaneous cutting and bolting and continuous conveying of the material and details the successful integration of the rapid-entry development system. Information will be provided of the installation, startup, operating performance, and the collaboration between Murray Energy Corp. and Komatsu Mining Corp. in resolving any issues to provide a truly game-changing longwall development system.

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