Thin Seam Mining Pty Ltd (TSM) is contracted by Allied Coal Pty Ltd (Allied) to mine the Balgownie Seam at Gibson’s Colliery, Russell Vale. TSM will utilise place change systems of work as practiced in West Virginia, USA. For that purpose TSM has imported purpose-built, low-profile mining equipment from the USA. The equipment has been retrofitted in Wollongong with electrical systems that comply with Australian Standards. Presently the TSM workforce consists of approximately 14 operators from West Virginia, and 14 from Australia. There is more coal mined in the state of West Virginia than in Australia. Most of that coal is mined in coal seams less than 1.5m in thickness. At Russell Vale the Balgownie Seam comprises a high quality coking coal and is approximately 1.2m thick. It was previously mined in the 1960’s and 1970’s via a longwall operation, however that operation proved unviable. The inability of previous operators to extract only the coal seam was one of the reasons previous operations were not sustainable.