The physical characteristics of oil shale make conventional mechanical mining methods using continuous roadheader or drum-type equipment impractical. Large amounts of machine vibration, high pick wear rates, and excessive dust generation make these methods less efficient and more costly than traditional drill-and-blast methods. Blasting, despite its advantages, also has limitations. Total resource recovery is reduced, and working conditions are less favorable. An improved, continuous, mechanized production method would increase efficiency, decrease costs, and make oil shale more competitive with other energy sources. The U.S. Department of Energy and the Bureau of Mines believe a technology currently under development would solve these problems. Called water-jet-assisted cutting this method will be investigated in a 24-month, three-phase program.
Eng. and Min. J., V. 189, No. 9, 9/88, PP. 70-71