Engineering & Mining Journal

JUN 2018

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Page 37 of 115

NEWS - THIS MONTH IN COAL 36 E&MJ • JUNE 2018 BMA to Sell Gregory Crinum Mine in Australia BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) joint-venture partners BHP and Mitsub- ishi Development Pty Ltd. have entered into an agreement to sell the Gregory Crinum mine in central Queensland to Sojitz Corp. for A$100 million. In addi- tion to the sale of the mine to Sojitz, BMA will be providing appropriate funding for rehabilitation of existing areas of distur- bance at the site, with all rehabilitation liabilities transferred to Sojitz. Gregory Crinum is a hard-coking coal mine located 60 km northeast of Emer- ald in the Bowen Basin. The site com- prises the Crinum underground mine, Gregory open-cut mine, undeveloped coal resources and on-site infrastructure, in- cluding a coal handling and preparation plant, maintenance workshops and ad- ministration facilities. The Gregory Crinum mine's capacity was 6 million metric tons per year (mt/y) of hard coking coal when production ceased and it was placed into care and maintenance in January 2016. BMA said it made the decision to sell the mine af- ter a detailed review that concluded there is potential for another party to realize greater value at the mine. BMA Asset President Rag Udd said, "This is a great outcome for the parties to the transaction and for the region. This will provide further employment in Emer- ald, and additional royalties and taxes to the people of Queensland." Completion of the sale is subject to customary regulatory approvals, which could take several months. During the approval period BMA and Sojitz will work together to facilitate a smooth transition. WVU Researchers to Study Mine Safety and Health A pair of research teams from West Virgin- ia University (WVU) have received close to $500,000 in funding from the Alpha Foundation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health. The first team, led by Derek John- son, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will look at cost-effective ways to measure methane in longwall coal mining operations in hopes of preventing the most feared haz- ards in underground coal mines: methane and dust explosions. Joining Johnson on the team are Nigel Clark, George B. Ber- ry Chair of Engineering and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, Yi Luo, associate professor of mining en- gineering, and Mark Sindelar, research assistant professor of mining engineering. Their proposed methane watchdog system will deploy a low-cost, multinodal methane measurement network that will monitor methane concentrations and ve- locity continuously along the full length of the longwall face. The system will measure, record and report on discrete methane concentrations in nearly real time, along the front and rear ends of the canopy of the shields. "The measured methane concentra- tion distribution can be used as an algo- rithm input to decide whether the shearer should be de-energized before advancing into potentially explosive methane-air pockets," Johnson said. "The methane concentration distribution along the rear end of the shield canopy will enable the development of an improved bleeder ven - tilation plan. "This strategy, will ensure the front edge of the explosive methane zone in the gob area, especially near the face/tailgate corner, will remain sufficiently far from longwall face while reducing the likelihood of over-ventilating the gob to prevent spon- taneous combustion," Johnson added. The team will then combine the meth- ane measurements with shearer location and ventilation flow rates along the long- wall face to estimate the methane libera- A dragline moves overburden at the Gregory open-cut mine in Australia's Bowen Basin.

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