High Speed Production of Large Coal to Facilitate Easier and More Effective Cleaning
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Most modern mining equipment extracts coal through grinding it from the solid using a set of rotating picks. This produces coal that is quite small in average size and generates a lot of dust in the process. The coal is also more expensive to collect and process to remove contained undesirable components. The use of high-pressure water jets as a cutting tool has been shown to provide a product that is larger in size, while con-commitantly eliminating the generation of dust (which carries with it the risk of ignition and explosion) and reducing the energy required for the mining process. Two different mining machines are described, one for use on longwall faces and one in room and pillar mines, and the potential for their development is discussed.