Collins Mining Company
Taken from “Coal Age” June 1965
Magazine provided by Tyler Collins
Long-range planning and close coordination of day-to-day activities leads to maximum utilization of coal and land resources at Collins Mining Co., Hanging Rock, Ohio. Producer of 400,000 tons per year from two pits, the company serves nearby industrial customers in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky.
Collins uses a three-way approach to conservation of natural resources:
1. Systematic harvesting of timber ahead of mining
2. Efficient recovery of coal with draglines.
3. Planned reclamation designed to restore land to greater usefulness after mining than before.
Collins Mining has available within 25 miles of its preparation plant some 50 million tons of coal under less than 80 ft. of overburden. Most of the reserves are in the Ohio No. 5 seam, which has an average thickness of 42 in. About 30 ft. above the No. 5 is the No. 6, which is irregular in thickness and therefore can be recovered only in isolated areas.
When only one seam is recovered, up to 65 ft. of overburden is handled. If both seams are recovered the stripping limit is extended to 80 ft.
Coal presently comes from two pits on opposite sides of the valley in which the company’s preparation plant is located. On one side the company has 4 to 5 year reserves within 2 miles of the plant. On the other side where the company has 20 to 25 year reserves, hauls eventually will be 12 to 15 miles. In addition, the company has about 2 years of reserves in a federally owned tract, which is being converted into a recreation area as mining is completed.
To fully use all of the resources on the coal land, the company schedules logging of merchantable timber ahed of mining operations. This planned harvesting of trees provides additional income to the company.
Two men work year round cutting trees and hauling them to the company’s sawmill, which operates 9 months of the year. Employign 10 men during the operating period, the mill saws an average of 10,000 bd ft of lumber per day.
When logging operations are completed, Caterpillar D9 and International TD24 bulldozers clear the land to provide roadways for the overburden drills.
Overburden, which now averages 65 ft, consists of 50 ft of sandstone immediately above the coal and 13 ft of shale and surface material. The company uses an average of 1/2 pound of AN-FO per cubic yard to break this material for handling by the two 14-yard draglines.
Two Bucyrus -Erie 40-R rotary vertical overburden units, working in separate pits, handle the drilling assignment. Equipped with 9-inch re-tipped bits, they drill holes 19 feet apart in two or three rows, depending on the width of cut. In some instances the rows must be drilled at different elevations because of the steepness of the hillside.
In a typical shift, two men drill 700 ft. of hole with one unit. Because of the abrasive nature of the rock, a bit drills only 2000 to 3000 ft of hole.
Holes are drilled to the top of the coal, then backfilled 3 to 4 feet with drill cuttings before they are charged with AN-FO. Two men charge hiles and shoot on alternate days in each pit.
Allied Chemical ammonium nitrate, packed in 80-lb bags, is delivered to the company in a trailer which is parked at a central location to serve as a field warehouse. The shooting crew transfers the bagged product to a flat-bed truck for delivery to the blasting site. The truck also carries 250 gallons of fuel oil for treating the nitrate at the hole site.
Procedures at the blasting site include first distributing the bagged nitrate to all holes to be charged that shift, opening them and metering the fuel oil to the contents. While the oil percolates through the nitrate the men backfill the holes 2 to 3 feet with drill cuttings.
Austin 60-grain detonating fuse extends the full length of each hole and one 2×8-inch stick of Austin AL4 primer is used for each 80-lb of AN-FO. A typical hole receives six bags of loose AN-FO, which is distributed in three decks. Three bags plus three sticks of primer are placed in the bottom of the hole, two bags plus two primers at the midpoint, and one bag and one stick of primer within 24 feet of the top. Drill cuttings are used for stemming to within 3 feet of the top of the hole.
A detonating fuse trunk line connects the charged holes, which are detonated simultaneously. Up to 50 holes are connected in a shot.
Two 14-yd Marion 7400 draglines, one electric and one diesel, handle overburden in separate pits.
Swinging 14-yd Esco buckets from 160-ft booms, the draglines work around the clock seven days a week. Pit width varies from 60 to 80 feet, depending on the slope of the hill.
In average conditions the two draglines uncover 40,000 tons of coal per month. When the digging is more difficult, the uncover 30,000 tons per month.
The abrasive sandstone overburden causes rapid wear of buckets and teeth. To permit regular rebuilding, the company has five buckets for the two draglines. Rebuilding and hardening of teeth is a daily job in the central shop.
In addition to the two 14-yd machines the company has a Manitowoc 4500 5-yd diesel dragline which uncovers coal in small, isolated tracts. A P&H 2-yd diesel shovel is available for loading in these areas and for emergency loading in either of the main pits.
Before loading begins the exposed coal is cleaned by a bulldozer and motor grader. In the diesel-dragline pit, a Bucyrus-Erie 61B shovel powered by a GM 6-110 diesel engine and swinging a 5 1/4 yd dipper handles the loading the assignment. Loading coal in the elecric-dragline pit is a P&H 955A diesel shovel, equipped with an Esco 4-yd dipper and powered by a Caterpillar 337 diesel. Both units load coal only on the day shift.
Haulage units include five Caterpillar DW20 tractors with 45-ton Athey trailers and two Dart 55-ton tractor trailers. The 55-ton units are always assigned to the longer hauls, which now average 5 mi one way.
Two of the 45-ton trucks are powered by Allis-Chalmers 21000 diesel engines, three by Caterpillar 337s and the 55-ton units by Allis-Chalmers 25000 engines.
To increase overall coal recover after the 14-yd draglines reach the 65-ft mining limit, the company uses a Compton twin-head 36-in auger. Intersecting holes penetrate to a depth of 175 to 200 ft, depending on natural conditions. Whenever possible, augering closely follows mining to minimize pit cleanup work.
Regular inspection and maintenance, combined with use of a premium diesel fuel, adds up to a lower truck operating cost for Collins. About 3 years ago the company began using Standard (Ohio) Red Premium fuel, which has a low sulpher content. A study of engine performance since switching to the premium fuel shows that injector life has increased 300% and engines stay cleaner and have more power.
The company notes that the better engine performance more than offsets the exra cost of the premium fuel. A Diamond T 5400 4×4 tank truck delivers the premium fuel to the diesel-powered equipment.
Each truck driver uses a daily check list in inspecting physically and visually his vehicle at the beginning of each shift. Any defective component noted must be corrected immediately or within the shift.
Other procedures designed to keep the trucks in top operating condition include third-shift inspection and lubrication. Each truck engine is equipped with an electric warmer which is connected to a power source when the unit is not in service in cold weather. The heaters eliminate starting problems and engine warmup time, thus adding to productive time.
The company recently completed its own shop for rebuilding diesel engines. To upgrade the skills of its maintenance staff the company sent a number of men to a factory training school where they learned the proper procedures for rebuilding diesel engines. In addition, factory experts conducted on-the-job training in the Collins shop.
Trucks carrying coal from both pits discharge into a common 300-ton bin located on the hillside above the preparation plant. Under the bin a 60-in apron conveyor transfers coal to an Allis Chamers Ripl-Flo vibrator making a separation at 7 in.
The plus 7-in product discharges onto a 36-in belt for delivery to the washing, sizing and loading section of the plant. There it feedsd onto a 6×70-ft McNally Pittsburg shaking table where refuse is removed by hand picking. The clean 7-in lump product goes to one of give 16x16x22-ft steel-lined storage bins for delivery to trucks in winter or for subsequent stockpiling in summer.
The raw 7×0 goes directly to a McNally-Norton 2-compartment 5-cell jig, which washes at 1.45 specific gravity in the primary cells and 1.39 in the secondary. Middlings from the secondary cells are lifted and dewatered by a buckey elevator for subsequent delivery to an American Pulverizer ring crusher for reduction to 1/2×0. The crushed product then recirculates into the primary cells.
Clean coal is sluiced to an Allis-Chalmers Low-Head vibrator for dewatering and sizing at 1/4 in. The plus 1/4-in product may be conveyed directly to the clean-coal sizing section of the plant or further reduced by a Gundlach crusher and then sent to the sizing and storing section.
When conveyed directly to the sizing section, the clean 7×1/4 coal may be separated into five products, which are sent to individual storage bins. Products now include 1/2×0, 1 3/4×1/2, 2 1/2×1 3/4, 7×2 1/2 and plus 7-in lump.
All coal is either sold directly to truck customers or delivered in company trucks to industrial consumers within 20 miles of the plant.
Jig refuse is dewatered by an elevating conveyor and carried to a 50-ton storage hopper above the raw coal bin. Coal haulers then carry the refuse back to the pit area on the return trip for burial.
Dirty water containing fine refuse flows to a sump pump in the plant. From there two Allis-Chalmers 4×5 pumps push it through 3/4 mile of 6-inch pipe to a settling pond in the mining area. When a pond fills, the area is covered with bank material and becomes part of the restored land.
Collins also can deliver coal to customers by barge or rail. The company has a barge-loading site on the Ohio River at Hanging Rock, which is about 1 1/2 mi from the preparation plant. At the present time the company loads eight barges per month, but facilities could readily expanded to handle larger tonnages.
In addition, rail facilities are available 3 miles from the plant. Cars can be loaded either on the Norfolk & Western or the Detroit, Toledo & Ironton Railroad.
Collins considers restoring the land to usefulness after mining as part of its mining operations. One area, owned by the U.S. Government, is systematically being reclaimed and converted into a recreation area. Aready some 50 lakes dot the area and will be available for fishing, boating, swimming and skin diving.
The lakes provide an exceptionally good environment for fish. A study of fish growth, for instance, shows that they develop 1 1/2 times faster in the man-mde lakes. Already some 18-in bass have been landed.
Picnic areas, camp sites and riding trails will be opened to the public this year. Old haulage roads will provide access to the facilities.
Other areas are being reclaimed according to the standards established by Ohio, and gnerally are being planted with trees. In 1964 the company planted 264,500 trees, including assorted pines and deciduous species. All planting is done in March in accordance with procedures recommended by forestry experts.
The Collins Mining Company was incorporated in 1986 and cancelled in 1998.