VIDEO: New mining monster digs deep at Acland
A $7 MILLION mining monster could change the way coal is mined at New Hope Group's Acland site.
The New Acland coal mine took delivery of a German-built Wirtgen machine this week to begin a four-month trial of mining the site's thin coal seams.
New Acland general manager Andrew McDonald said the Wirtgen miner hadn't been trialled on thin coal seams in Australia before.
"While similar machines have been trialled before in coal mining operations, and are used in iron ore mines in Western Australia, this is the first in-depth trial of this kind in an open-cut coal mine in Australia that we know of," Mr McDonald said.
When it becomes fully operational, the machine is expected to have the capacity to reduce the number of machines running at any one time.
Mr McDonald expected it would take four or five days to assemble the machine and about 10 days to train staff on its use.
"It can cut the coal, load the coal and trim the floor all in its own working space.''
Coal is collected and then shot out a conveyor belt straight onto trucks which pull alongside as it goes.
"It doesn't need to be supported by a number of other pieces of equipment.''
He said that would lead to efficiencies in the mining cycle as well as in impacts on the environment.
"We are hoping to see better yields out of our coal.
"We are hoping to see a better quality coal product come out.''