Coal Age

DEC 2012

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proximity detection continued do this for the bathhouse and materials side of things by standardizing charger racks and being able to use one to charge multiple devices," said Moore. Another question is why has Alliance become the champion of proximity detection, especially when it inherently may affect or even slow operations and production? Because coming from the top down, from CEO Joe Craft through Heath Lovell, vice president of River View, and all through the ranks of mine management, they have decided that this kind of technology is the right thing to do. Even prior to first deployment in Pattiki in 2009, Alliance funded the research and development activity of the system since 2005. It's been a long-term goal of upper management to provide a safer environment for the continuous miner operator and all mining employees, especially those in harm's way. "Safety is our number one Core Value at Alliance Coal and as managers, we must lead by example. We 'walk our talk' by providing our employees with the latest technology in safety equipment and ensuring December 2012 quality training. The proximity detection system provides a tool to modify the continuous miner operator's behavior relative to their body position and places them in the safest location while operating the continuous mining machine," said Kenny Murray, vice president of operations, Alliance Coal. "The technology's there to make the mine operator safer or make the equipment safer to run. We'd much rather make the decision to use it than to have to make just one visit to someone's family and explain that 'well we had that technology to save your husband or father's life but we just decided not to use it.' No, that's not the way we as a company are going to profit," said Moore. Matrix designers work hand in hand with Alliance's safety managers and personnel to get their input and to understand, from the inside out, how to merge the mining and safety technologies. Now they are working with the mine designers and planners to integrate these systems into the layout of new operations. Being owned by Alliance allows Matrix's design- ers to access a test bed of five or six regional mines where they can install gear and really prove it out. Alliance's still new River View mine was probably one of the first mines designed from the beginning to have common tracking throughout. Though proximity detection was not built into the mine from inception, shortly after it was opened Matrix started putting it underground. Today it's one of the largest conventional mines in the country operating nine CM super sections, all equipped with proximity detection. The Gibson South mine now in development in southern Indiana will also incorporate much of this cutting edge technology. "Our hope and plan is to have our new network in there, everything proximity related, be it for miners or shuttle cars, from day one. We'll be doing everything that we can to ensure we've got our latest technology and latest products in the mine so it'll be a safe, productive working section. We hope too that as new employees come on and are trained, they will learn how to use these tools from day one," said Moore. 59

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