Cliffs longwall sets world record

CLIFFS Natural Resources’ Pinnacle mine in southern West Virginia has set a world record of 32,430 tons of longwall plow coal production during a 24-hour period.
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Pinnacle's plough system.

Justin Niessner

The record set between the August 30 evening shift and the August 31 day shift shattered the previous record of 26,896 tons achieved last February by the Bogdanska mine in Poland.

“This is a significant accomplishment not only for our longwall crews, but for everyone who works at the Pinnacle mine,” Pinnacle general manager Jon Lester said.

“Everyone at Pinnacle played a role in our record performance without compromising Cliffs’ focus on safety.”

The longwall plow that set the record began production at Pinnacle in late 2010.

Cliffs worked with Bucyrus International to adapt the equipment’s design to the conditions of the mine.

“The collaboration between Bucyrus and Cliffs helped make this world record possible,” Cliffs North America vice president Mark Nelson said.

“We worked closely with Bucyrus to increase the ruggedness of various elements of the plow and make it more maintenance friendly. Our job now is to continue to safely and consistently produce coal to meet our customers’ demands from around the world.”

After much international success, Bucyrus teamed up with Cliffs’s North American coal operations in 2010 to outfit Pinnacle with the first automated longwall plow system in a US underground mine.

Bucyrus which was acquired by Caterpillar last year said increased US interest in longwall plows was due to improvements in capacity, speed, horsepower and electronically pre-defined cutting depths.

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