Highwall meets longwall

AS MORE coal operations consider the use of highwall mining methods, Superior Highwall Miners will again compete alongside the more traditional longwall products at the 2007 Longwall USA Show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania next month.

Donna Schmidt

SHM spokeswoman Jennifer Hawley told International Longwall News that higher demand for electricity, and hence for coal, is providing opportunities for increased local production with innovative systems such as highwall mining, instead of traditional coal producers becoming increasingly reliant on high-cost energy imports

She said that a changing market is another impetus for SHM’s attendance.

“The current strong demand for steel has opened up new opportunities for metallurgical coal production and, while to date most of SHM’s customers have focused on thermal coal to sell on the utility market, several have specifically purchased systems for mining high-grade met coal,” Hawley said.

The Beckley, West Virginia firm, with 52 highwall miner units in operation throughout the world, said that the exposure at industry shows is important because highwall is a market that is growing rapidly and with vigour.

“Permitting processes are changing every day,” Hawley said.

“To be competitive in today’s volatile energy market, mineral developers must always be on the lookout for innovative technologies that reduce production costs and increase profitability – highwall mining is the future of mining.”

The biennial event will be held June 5–7 at the David L Lawrence Convention Center.