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Today, coal is used in industrial processes and power firms to generate electricity. Globally, it accounts for approximately 30% of the total energy use. Coal is grouped together with natural gas and oil as fossil fuels. Most of the coal deposits being mined today were formed approximately 300 million years ago. This post takes a closer look at coal mining to establish important facts about it that you should know.
What is Coal?
Before looking at coal mining facts, it is important to take a closer look at how it is formed and how the mining industry works. Coal is created by carbon but features other components including oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and sulphur. The process of coal formation starts as organic matter deep in the water that is eventually covered by debris before changing its form. The process can take millions of years. Coal is differentiated into four groups:
- Anthracite/ hard coal
- Bituminous/ soft coal
Facts about Coal Mining that you should know
Though coal is a fossil fuel, it is preferred as a source of energy for its affordability compared to others such as oil and natural gas. Here are additional facts that you should know:
- Surface mining in open pits is the commonest method because it is cheap, fast and easy. Most pits for surface mining are approximately 50 meters deep.
- Underground mining is used to extract coal that is located deeper than 50 meters below the surface. The main methods used in underground coal mining include longwall mining, continuous mining, blast mining, and retreat mining.
- Before coal can be used, it is processed by crushing into small sizes. Impurities are also removed to give it the right properties.
- At current production rates, it is estimated that coal deposits will get depleted in about 147 years. However, the improving harvesting methods could cut the depletion of coal deposits to less than 100 years from now.
- Unlike in the past, modern coal mining methods are advanced to increase extraction efficiency. For example, it is now possible to use advanced sensing equipment and test the quality of coal on the site. The processes of extracting coal are also being automated to increase production.
- To enhance the safety of the mining systems, the mining companies are installing hazardous gas monitoring, gas drainage, and ventilation that reduce that danger from unhealthy air quality and explosions.
Coal mining is one of the main sources of fossil fuels in the globe. These facts demonstrate the advancing niche of coal mining. Therefore, do not hesitate to consider using it for your operations.