Water from a dam, is helping to win coal from a mine at Maitland, on the coalfields of Northern New South Wales.
Water from a dam, is helping to win coal from a mine at Maitland, on the coalfields of Northern New South Wales. Pumped from the dam under pressure, the water is piped into the mine at the rate of 3000 gallons a minute.
Inside the mine, the water is fed into a special high-pressure jet known as a "Monitor". With this the miners are able to direct a powerful stream of water onto the coal-face, blasting away coal which has already been loosened by convential shot-firing.
The journal of the Australian Coal Association says this is the first time hydro-mining has been used underground in Australia. Mining with water reduces two of the major hazards of mining -- coal dust, and the formation of gas. In addition, the coal is carried out of the mine by water, and is washed on the way.
The firm's Managing Director says four miners are able to produce as much coal by this method as a dozen men would produce by convential mining. The coal is loaded into a truck and the water is returned to the dam to be used again, to mine more coal.