Long wait, but worth it for Daning

AFTER six and a half years of gaining certifications, undergoing inspections and commissioning, the Asian American Coal (AACI) joint venture has finally been given the green light to produce 4 million tonnes of coal per annum from its Daning mine in China’s Shanxi Province. Angie Bahr talks with AACI chief Ron Hite.

Angie Tomlinson

Last month Shanxi Asian American Daning-Energy Company (56% owned by AACI) earned its production licence to mine 4Mtpa from the mine. Management plans not to waste any time and is full steam ahead planning output of 3Mt this year – most of which will be mined in the second half of 2007.

Daning is unique in its status as the first modern- day foreign invested coal mining joint venture in the People's Republic of China. The mine is located near Jincheng City, 380km southwest of Beijing.

Holding a reserve base of 170Mt, Daning extracts from the 4.5m high No. 3 seam which is overlain by 150–400m of overburden. It is accessed from three slopes driven from the mine yard and three ventilation shafts.

Currently the mine operates one 225m wide face that cuts an 800mm web of coal per pass. Development is achieved through two Joy continuous miners and two roadheaders from domestic company Taiyuan Mine Machinery.

Daning employs a Joy 7LS shearer, DBT 5.5m shields, Longwall Associates armoured face conveyor, Repower Mining International pump station, Ampcontrol electrical package and DBT belts.

While Daning can now get down to business and start earning back its investment, it has been a long road to get to its current point.

AACI chief operating officer Ron Hite told International Longwall News Daning’s process to production started with the establishment of the joint venture and gaining all the relevant required certifications.

During the third quarter of 2005 the operation was able to move to commissioning where a small training panel was mined. A second normal-sized panel was then moved to begin commissioning the equipment and 2Mt was mined.

Mining, according to Hite, has been “stop and go” over the past two years while seven prerequisite inspections for environmental compliance and worker health and safety were carried out.

“Each inspection can have 60 to 70 people inspecting and it is the most intense inspections I have ever seen,” Hite said.

Finally, an “overall inspection” is completed and a safety licence is issued, clearing the way for Daning to gain its production licence.

The long-term mine plan is to produce on average 6Mtpa, with the capability of raising future production to 8Mtpa.

“Daning now has to make money, and if we do the second chapter well I think we have established ourselves as a big little company here with some unique skills we have over our competitors – whether domestically or internationally,” Hite said.

Don’t miss the December edition of American Longwall Magazine for a full story on Daning, AACI’s new Gahoe operation and Ron Hite’s experiences as a coal producer in China.Click here to subscribe to American Longwall Magazine or to receive one complimentary copy.