A new highwall mining system (HMS) for coal extraction in unreclaimed and active contour strip mines has been developed. The system is comprised of a computer-based remotely controlled thin-seam continuous miner, a multiple-unit continuous haulage system, and other support equipment located on the highwall bench. The mining process is controlled remotely by a single operator from a protected, ergonomically designed workstation. The HMS offers safe economical mining of unreclaimed coal resources. It has the potential to be competitive with other highwall coal extraction techniques, with a productivity goal of 22 ton/man-hour. Surface tests of the miner and haulage systems were completed at the US Bureau of Mines test facility. Specific results from these tests are included. Field protection trials of the HMS are being conducted.
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