The coal mining industry is the largest segment of the fuel industry. Worldwide, it outnumbers any other in terms of the number of workers and the amount of equipment.
What is the coal industry
The coal mining industry involves the extraction of coal and its subsequent processing. Work is underway both on the surface and underground.
If the deposits are at a depth of no more than 100 meters, the work is carried out in a quarry way. Mines are used to develop the deposit at great depths.
Classic coal mining
Working in coal mines and underground are the main methods of mining. Most of the work in Russia and in the world is carried out in an open way. This is due to financial benefits and high production rates.
The process is as follows:
- With the help of special equipment, the upper layer of the earth covering the deposit is removed. A few years ago, the depth of open works was limited to 30 meters, the latest technology has made it possible to increase it by 3 times. If the top layer is soft and small, it is removed with an excavator. Thick and dense layerland is pre-crushed.
- Coal deposits are beaten off and taken away with the help of special equipment to the enterprise for further processing.
- Workers restore natural terrain to avoid harm to the environment.
The disadvantage of this method is that coal deposits located at a shallow depth contain impurities of dirt and other rocks.
Coal mined underground is considered cleaner and of better quality.
The main task of this method is to transport coal from great depths to the surface. For this, passages are created: an adit (horizontal) and a shaft (inclined or vertical).
In the tunnels, coal seams are cut by special combines and loaded onto a conveyor that lifts them to the surface.
The underground method allows you to extract a large amount of minerals, but it has significant drawbacks: high cost and increased danger to workers.
Unconventional methods of coal mining
These methods are effective, but do not have mass distribution - at the moment there are no technologies that allow you to clearly establish the process:
- Hydraulic. Mining is carried out in a mine at great depths. The coal seam is crushed and brought to the surface under strong water pressure.
- Compressed air energy. It acts as both a destructive and lifting force, compressed air is under strong pressure.
- Vibroimpulse. The formations are destroyed under the influence of powerful vibrations formedequipment.
These methods were used in the Soviet Union, but did not become popular due to the need for large financial investments. Only a few coal mining companies continue to use unconventional methods.
Their main advantage is the lack of workers in potentially life-threatening areas.
Leading countries in coal production
According to the statistics of world energy, a ranking of countries that occupy leading positions in coal production in the world has been compiled:
- South Africa.
For many years, China has been the leader in terms of coal production. In China, only 1/7 of the available deposits are being developed, this is due to the fact that coal is not exported outside the country, and the existing reserves will last at least 70 years.
In the United States, deposits are evenly scattered across the country. With their reserves, they will provide the country for at least 300 years.
Coal deposits in India are very rich, but almost all of the coal produced is used in the energy industry, because the available reserves are of very low quality. Despite the fact that India occupies one of the leading positions, artisanal methods of coal mining are progressing in this country.
Australia's coal reserves will last about 240 years. The mined coal has the highest quality rating, a significant part of it is intended for export.
BIndonesia's coal production is increasing every year. A few years ago, most of the mined was exported to other countries, now the country is gradually phasing out the use of oil, and therefore the demand for coal for domestic consumption is growing.
Russia has 1/3 of the world's coal reserves, while not all the country's lands have yet been explored.
South Africa has every chance to rise higher in the ranking - over the past 30 years, the level of coal production in this country has grown 4 times.
Germany, Poland and Kazakhstan are gradually reducing coal production due to the non-competitive cost of raw materials. Most of the coal is intended for domestic consumption.
Main coal mining sites in Russia
Let's get it right. Coal mining in Russia is carried out mainly by open-pit mining. Deposits are scattered unevenly throughout the country - most of them are located in the eastern region.
The most significant coal deposits in Russia are:
- Kuznetsk (Kuzbass). It is considered the largest not only in Russia, but throughout the world, located in Western Siberia. Coking and hard coal is mined here.
- Kansk-Achinsk. Brown coal is mined here. The field is located along the Trans-Siberian Railway, occupying part of the territories of the Irkutsk and Kemerovo regions, the Krasnoyarsk Territory.
- Tunguska coal basin. Represented by brown and hard coal. It covers part of the territory of the Republic of Sakha, the Irkutsk region and the Krasnoyarsk Territory.
- Pechora Coalswimming pool. Coking coal is mined at this deposit. Works are carried out in mines, which makes it possible to extract high-quality coal. Located in the territories of the Komi Republic and the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug.
- Irkutsk-Cheremkhovo coal basin. It is located on the territory of the Upper Sayan. Provides coal only to nearby businesses and communities.
Today, five more deposits are being developed that can increase the annual volume of coal production in Russia by 70 million tons.
Prospects for the coal mining industry
The world has already explored most of the coal deposits, from an economic point of view, the most promising belong to 70 countries. The level of coal production is growing rapidly: technologies are being improved, equipment is being modernized. This increases the profitability of the industry.