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Registration date : 2010-10-10

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PostSubject: Mine operation   Mine operation EmptyThu Nov 25, 2010 5:37 am

The coal is mined 200m underground, at 800m above sea level, quarrying coal from the Brunner coal seam. The coal is taken from the mine via a 'drift', a gently-sloping 5 degree tunnel 2.3 km long. This tunnel has taken large amounts of dynamite to create, as the rock is described as being up to four times harder than concrete. Since the coal face will be located higher than the tunnel entrance, removal of material to a processing plant 10.6 km away will be via a slurry pipeline (with a 35% solids share).[3]
Another major feature of the underground works is a 110m-deep ventilation shaft. After local ground conditions were found to be worse than expected, it was excavated with a raise-bore system excavating the 4.25m ventilation shaft from a 0.35m pilot drill shaft.[3][4][9] Access to the top of the ventilation shaft is by helicopter only, even during construction, as conservation restrictions do not allow roads to be built to reach this point.[1]
The mine will also include underground excavation for the coal slurry handling facility and mine water storage and pumping equipment, with several large galleries of up to 5.5m width and 11m height to be excavated.[1] As of 2010, the mine has three main "drives" (shafts).[10]
Originally, once at the processing plant, coal was to be trucked to Greymouth for reshipment.[3][4] On 27 November 2007, it was announced that the coal from the mine would be transported to Lyttelton for export rather than the previously proposed shipment via the Port of Taranaki. The company has reserved under contract with Toll Rail (now KiwiRail) 1.3 million tonnes of capacity for their coal on the Midland Line between Greymouth and Christchurch, which since upgrading by ONTRACK has a total capacity of four million tonnes per annum.[11]
The mine was to have about 150 full-time staff, though in 2007-2008, there were problems filling all positions, partly because of high demand for the same occupations in the Australian and international job markets.[3][4]

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