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Water-jet Assisted Mining of Oil Shale, a New Excavation Technology.

Weakly-LA; Thimons-ED; Kogelmann-WJ; Virgona-JE
119th AIME Annual Mtg Mining & Exploration Tech Program Salt Lake City Utah, 2/28/90 :10 pages
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has entered into a $1.5 million cooperative agreement with Alpine Equipment Corp./Astro International Corp. ("Alpine") of State College, Pennsylvania, for the evaluation of water-jet-assisted (WJA) mechanical cutting of oil shale under actual mining conditions. A commercial-sized, heavy WJA mechanical miner is being assembled based upon the successful "factory testing" of a smaller prototype miner utilizing standard tungsten-carbide and polycrystalline diamond composite (PDC) bits in large oil shale boulders. Actual field testing of the machine will be conducted in an oil shale mine located in the Piceance Basin of western Colorado. In-mine logistical support is being provided by several oil shale companies through the Colorado Mining Association (CMA) and the U.S. Bureau of Mines. Results from the "factory testing" of the prototype miner indicate a definite, positive synergism utilizing moderate pressure water and the PDC bits (picks) when cutting oil shale (a dolomitic limestone containing kerogen). Greater bit life, higher productivity, lower power consumption, and reduced dust levels were achieved. The evaluation of this new technology under actual mining conditions will provide field data that can be utilized by the private sector to develop and commercialize water-jet-assisted mechanized mining equipment. The successful application of high-pressure water-jet technology and PDC bits in conjunction with mechanical mining could favorably impact the mining of oil shale by reducing capital and operating costs, improving safety, and increasi
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OP 91-90
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119th AIME Annual Mtg, Mining & Exploration Tech. Program, Salt Lake City, Utah, 2/28/90