Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local News

September 13, 2012

Cliffs’ ‘plow’ sets new world record in longwall coal production

PINEVILLE — Coal miners working at a Wyoming County coal mine have established a new record for tonnage of raw coal produced from a longwall plow during a 24-hour period.

Miners of Cliffs Natural Resources Inc.’s Pinnacle Mine between Welch and Pineville set a new world record by producing 32,430 tons of raw coal during a 24-hour period in late August — besting the previous world record of 26,896 tons set by Polish miners earlier this year.

“It was a three-shift record,” Jim Kosowski, district manager of public affairs for Cliffs said in response to an email seeking comment. Kosowski added that the Pinnacle Mine is working the Pocahontas No. 3 Seam.

“This is a significant accomplishment not only for our longwall crews, but for everyone who works at the Pinnacle Mine,” Jon Lester, Pinnacle general manager was quoted as stating in a Cliffs press release. “Everyone at Pinnacle played a role in our record performance without compromising Cliffs’ focus on safety.”

David Webb, senior vice president of Global Coal Operations, was also quoted in the same press release as praising Pinnacle’s commitment to safety.

“The focus of everyone at Pinnacle Mine has been to become a world leader in the met coal market,” Webb said. “This world record is a clear indication that we are on the right track. The Pinnacle Mine has the talent, equipment and processes in place to continue to be an industry leader in safety and production.”

Noted geologist, Marshall Miller, has deemed the Pocahontas No. 3 seam coal as the “world standard for metallurgical coal.”

The Pinnacle longwall plow began production in the mine in 2010, according to the press release. Pinnacle personnel worked with Bucyrus International — now Caterpillar — to adapt the plow to meet Pinnacle’s needs.

“The collaboration between Bucyrus and Cliffs helped make this world record possible.” Mark Nelson said.

Nelson is vice president of Cliffs North American coal operations. “We worked closely with Bucyrus to increase the ruggedness of various elements of the plow and make it more maintenance friendly.”

U.S. Steel Mining started mining operations at the No. 50 Pinnacle Mine in 1969, and later sold the mine to PinnOak Resources LLC. Cliffs acquired the mine from PinnOak in 2008.

— Contact Bill Archer at barcher@bdtonline.com

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