Massive belt expansion modernizes Shoemaker's future

AFTER patiently waiting for more than four years, Consol has completed a $US205 million project known as the Shoemaker Belt Project, which has taken the complex from being the last underground mine to utilize rail car haulage to being the owner of a brand new conveyor belt infrastructure that is significantly more efficient.
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Shoemaker’s new belt infrastructure includes 50,000ft of underground and 14,000ft of overland conveyor.

Donna Schmidt

Published in the May 2010 Coal USA Magazine

The project was completed in phases beginning in early 2006, and includes anew and upgraded underground conveyorbelt infrastructure that now stretches eight miles to the bottom of a new single-compartment belt slope. A coal storage facility and six surface belts of variouswidths and lengths were products of the project as well.

After breaking ground and completing site preparation, the company’s contractor excavated a single compartment slope at a 16-degree incline that is 1300ft long and 360ft deep.

Construction of the raw coal storage facility and overland belts followed the completion of the conveyor system to the preparation plant.

The belts were tested and ready by the end of 2009. January 15, 2010, was the beginning of Shoemaker’s new era – the last coal car reached the surface of the West Virginia mine while the new underground belts brought the first coal to the slope belt and the coal storage site.

“With the final commissioning of the overland belts, the mine was formally ready for full production,” project manager Jim Mazzocca said.

Consol refers to the surface sections of the belt project as S1 through S6, with the first three encompassing the overland belt, the fourth its dedicated storage reclaim belt, and the fifth and sixth its stacker feed and slope belts, respectively. They range in width from 54in at the overland portions to 72in at the stacker feed and slope sections.

The coal storage area includes a stacker tube that measures 12ft in diameter and 72ft in height, holding about 145,000t. The Shoemaker Belt Project includes nearly 14,000ft of surface belt infrastructure in all.

Mazzocca noted that new construction wasn’t all the work was about – several areas were upgraded, including the replacement of the old beltline that delivered coal to the preparation facility, and some of the plant’s older components were replaced as well.

“A new 400-ton surge bin was installed to eliminate delays during barge changeout,” he noted.

“The harbor and barge-loading system received a significant upgrade that created an improved, safe and efficient loading facility.”

Shoemaker’s new belt infrastructure includes 50,000ft of underground and 14,000ft of overland conveyor.

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