Coal Age

JUN 2018

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June 2018 www.coalage.com 13 news continued to meet customers' demands since restarting their Access Energy mine at Deane Mining this past September. Razorblade is the first in a series of surface mines to be put into production organically, along with its recent acquisitions of the Wayland Surface mine and PointRock mine, throughout American Resources' footprint within Floyd, Knott, Letcher and Pike counties in Kentucky. "We are very excited about expanding our production at Deane Mining to help meet the domestic and global demand for high-quality coals," said Thomas Sauve, president of American Resources. "Furthermore, developing our surface mining assets, such as Razorblade, with very low transportation and operating costs, will allow us to maintain our very competitive cost position in the marketplace while enhancing our per-ton profit margin for our shareholders." American Resources continues to focus on its growth ob- jective by leveraging its 35 controlled mining permits while also looking for supplemental acquisitions. The company has several low-cost surface mines in its portfolio. WVU Researchers Get Funds From Alpha Foundation to Study Mine Safety, Health A pair of research teams from West Virginia University (WVU) have received close to $500,000 in funding from the Alpha Foun- dation for the Improvement of Mine Safety and Health. The first team, led by Derek Johnson, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, will look at cost-effective ways to measure methane in longwall coal-mining operations in hopes of preventing the most-feared hazards in underground coal mines: methane and dust explosions. Joining Johnson on the team are Nigel Clark, George B. Berry chair of engineering and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, Yi Luo, as- sociate professor of mining engineering, and Mark Sindelar, re- search assistant professor of mining engineering. Their proposed methane watchdog system will deploy a low- cost, multinodal methane measurement network that will moni- tor methane concentrations and velocity continuously along the full length of the longwall face. The system will measure, record and report on discrete methane concentrations in nearly real time, along the front and rear ends of the canopy of the shields. "The measured methane-concentration distribution can be used as an algorithm input to decide whether the shearer should be de-energized before advancing into potentially explosive methane-air pockets," Johnson said. "The methane-concentra- tion distribution along the rear end of the shield canopy will en- able the development of an improved bleeder ventilation plan. "This strategy will ensure the front edge of the explosive methane zone in the gob area, especially near the face/tailgate corner, will remain sufficiently far from longwall face while re- ducing the likelihood of over-ventilating the gob to prevent spon- taneous combustion," Johnson added. The team will then combine the methane measurements with shearer location and ventilation flow rates along the longwall face to estimate the methane-liberation rates from the coal seam

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