The metallurgical operation, located 43 miles north of Birmingham in the Warrior coalfield, will use triple-head auger machines to extract from an existing exposed highwall left behind after contour mining in the 1970s by former owner Calvert and Marsh.
The company said minimal additional excavation would be required, increasing the cost-effectiveness of operations.
“MCoal [NovaDX’s wholly owned subsidiary] is advancing preparation of the minesite,” the operator said, noting that gates and fencing work at the Blount County mine are being completed as are access roads, haul roads, weigh scales and an office facility.
“[The subsidiary] will shortly complete the second of two settlement ponds and coal stockyard required to support the commencement of its auger mining operations.”
MCoal made an unexpected discovery during the construction of the second sediment pond – it located and extracted about 500 tons of stockpiled Rosa coal not taken via contour mining by the former operator.
As MCoal awaits the late March delivery of the contract auger, it has purchased other required mining equipment which is now onsite. Rosa’s fleet includes a Komatsu PC 400 and John Deere 890 track excavators, two Volvo 35t-capacity articulated rock trucks, two tri-axle 20t-capacity coal haulage trucks, one Komatsu 375 bulldozer, a CAT 980 loader, a CAT 416 backhoe, and a truck-mounted 6-inch RC drill and service vehicles.
“The initial highwall mine face is being prepared in advance of delivery of the auger machine,” the company said.
“No other major pieces of mining equipment are required to commence production, which is expected shortly after the auger machine is delivered and assembled onsite.”
The mine’s output has been primarily committed to local coking facilities.
The Rosa complex has an expected mine life of 12 years. NovaDX submitted its mine permit application for the operation in June 2009.