How coal is extracted


People have been mining fossil coal since time immemorial. In Russia, a coal deposit was first discovered in 1721 near a tributary of the Kundryachya River. The formation of the coal industry of the Russian Empire falls in the first quarter of the 19th century.


For a long time miners extracted coal with simple shovels and kiroks. At the end of XIX and early XX centuries universal recognition was won by jackhammers. Harvesters were also widely used. Currently, the mines use modern high-performance machinery.


The two most commonly used methods of coal mining are open and underground. Open is not only the cheapest and easiest, but also the safest. The process looks something like this: draglines (large excavators) tear down the upper rocks that block access to coal deposits. Rotary excavators then plunge beds of coal into special wagons. In this way some of the world’s coal reserves are produced.


The second way — underground — is more labor-intensive and, as a result, more expensive. However, because significant coal reserves are located extremely deep, the underground method has to be used. Vertical and sloping shafts (up to a kilometre deep) are drilled to produce coal. Seams of coal are dissected into the panel and extracted outward.


From thin layers, the coal is obtained with the help of an auger — a special tool that resembles the screw of a grinder.



hydraulic method of coal mining is very promising, relatively new to the coal industry. It was first used in the USSR in the 30s of the last century. The process is as follows: a powerful jet of water from the hydromonitor irritates the layers of coal, and then pieces of it are piped directly to the enrichment plant.

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