World's first Bucyrus 35M continuous miner gets working

DESIGNED for hard cutting and high coal seams, Bucyrus last year delivered the world’s first 35M continuous miner to an Anglo Coal colliery in South Africa, and so far the machine is bringing in great results.

Angie Tomlinson

Bucyrus Africa delivered the continuous miner to the Goedehoop Colliery in Witbank during November last year.

The 35M machine has been specially designed for the hard cutting and high coal seams of the South African room and pillar market, the second largest in the world.

Bucyrus said the 35M3 had been in production since mid-December 2008 and had performed well, providing exceptional reliability with no breakdowns over the first full month of production.

The machine is mining the No. 4 seam with a cutting height of up to 3.5 metres.

Bucyrus Africa launched the first Bucyrus continuous miner in South Africa, a 30M3 in February 2007.

Working in conjunction with the customer, a number of upgrades were introduced and implemented on the machine to further improve the cutting performance in the hard South African coal.

Building upon this success, a project to develop a machine specifically for the South African market began in earnest in October 2007.

Together with some input from Australia and South Africa, the continuous-miner design engineering team in Houston, Pennsylvania, USA, designed and manufactured the 35M in less than a year.

It rolled out of the Houston facility in July 2008.

The 88-tonne 35M design combines additional mass with longer cat tracks, different cutting geometry and lacing as well as improvements to the electrical control system.

Bucyrus said operator acceptance of the machine at Goedehoop had been great, with the mine anticipating final commissioning phase this month.

Two more 35M machines are on order for delivery in June 2009.