Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Peterson, RD, Surface assisted continuous underground mining, in Aziz, N (ed), Coal 1998: Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 1998, 352-365.


Longwall mining has historically been considered an application for only deep reserves. This has changed in the recent past as longwall has become competitive with surface mining. Many resources marked for stripping now lie in the domain of longwall. Today, the best longwall mines compete with strip mines operating in even the lowest stripping ratios. Longwall mining has become more widely applicable than it ever has been in the past and it is now generally considered the method of choice in situations where high levels of coal production are required. But the best way to use longwall mining has become less certain with the opportunities that highwall access provides. Wall-to-wall mining is the use of retreating longwall developed from and retreating toward a highwall. As a surface mine reaches its ultimate highwall, the opportunity for longwall punch mining or wall-to-wall mining is obvious. There are several clear operating advantages to operating a longwall in this way and where highwalls are available, the best economic decision will generally favor planning a direct approach. Yet wall-to-wall is not applicable in every situation even when highwalls are available. Moreover, the advantages of wall-to-wall mining do not always justify the cost of trenching or box cuts to access coal .However, many tactical advantages of operating from the highwall can be realized with the use of specially equipped blind drilled or raised bored shafts. This paper discusses novel techniques for a shaft assisted mining system which permits the addition of conveyor structure and mine systems from the surface to the face for advance and retreat mining with longwall, shortwall or room and pillar panels.