13 Photo: Juan Manuel Pinilla www.drummondltd.com After 5 years of research and planning, the Company decided to invest close to 15 million dollars in this technology. coal transport and ventilation system costs are all reduced in comparison to conventional underground mining. 2. Time: the way in which the machine’s push beams are connected together, and the speed with which the machine cuts through the terrain, allow the reduction of the coal’s extraction times, which in turn is translated into larger gains. 3. Pure Production: compared to other traditional methods, highwall mining spends much more time in production of coal. Using the Highwall machine, everything that is cut is coal that is ready for the customer. 4. Flexibility: the machine can access smaller coal blocks and can more easily avoid adverse conditions that hurt production. 5. Easy transport: it is easy to move about the mine and to anchor in the established spots, thanks to its own crawler transport system, anchoring drills, and automated navigation system. 6. Applicability: since the coal cutting operation works by remote control, it can work in very low seam thicknesses, since traditional underground mining equipment and personnel never go into the highwall mining excavation. The equipment can also work in steeper terrain slopes than traditional underground mining equipment. 7. Safety: operations are safer since these are performed by remote control and all the personnel is outside of the highwall miner holes. In this way, those involved are not exposed to rock falls, toxic gases, pillar bursts, dust or flooding. “Having employees located underground in coal seams is always risky; this is why having this machine will be a lot safer for them.” Additionally, this goes along with our main objective this year, which is zero lost time accidents at the mine”, affirms Ron Damron, Vice President of Mining Operations. 8. Large bet on Colombia: “Apart from offering Colombian engineers the know-how to use this technology, Highwall benefits the production of coal in Colombia, since we are extracting resources that would have never been recovered due to the depth in which they are located. This is an advanced mining machine that is on the cutting edge of technology for the region, because no one else in the country has it”, explains Jason Young. Thanks to the competitive advantage that using this extraction method provides, the purchase of a second machine is being evaluated. Meanwhile, our goal is to extract over 750 thousand tons of coal per year with the use of this cutting edge technology. The Highwall system perfectly adapts to the conditions of the mine.
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