Why Were So Many of the Mines Slope Mines Rather Than Drift Mines?

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DRBill
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Post by DRBill » Tue. Mar. 28, 2017 5:30 pm

Okay, why were so many of the mines slope mines rather than drift mines. I think SR&W is one of the few drift mines. Anyone have any good technical information on mining? Why slope vs. drift? Where did they get the rail, which is smaller than railroad rail? The breakers used plates with various sizes of holes to sift the coal. I suspect those shaker plates come from abandoned breakers. The Wandering Woodsman. Anyone know anything about him and how to contact him? He had two videos on the north side of Short Mountain in Dauphin county and one of them showed slope mines where the entrance was covered with bars. Also, what looks like a ventilation shaft, not too old, as it wasn't rusted. Was that for mines on the south side of the mountain? I suspect all of the mines on the south side of the mountain are now abandoned. Near as I can tell, Darryl Koperna was working on the south side, and he would now be in his 60's, or older. The road on the north side looks like it was abandoned about fifty years ago, considering the size of the trees.

Bill


 
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Post by coaledsweat » Tue. Mar. 28, 2017 6:06 pm

Slope, drift and shaft. It's about where the mineral is and how to get at it best.

 
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Post by windyhill4.2 » Tue. Mar. 28, 2017 8:19 pm

I goggled "the wandering woodsman" & it lists different videos he has done.Is that what you wanted ? Or did you want to talk to him ? He is a personal acquaintance of mine.

 
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Post by windyhill4.2 » Sun. Apr. 02, 2017 1:04 pm

Well..
No response to me asking if a direct contact number was desired for the Wandering Woodsman.

So,for any who are interested...

His contact...... [email protected]

This email address has been approved by him for me to post on here.

 
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Post by freetown fred » Sun. Apr. 02, 2017 1:18 pm

Thanx WH.

 
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Post by DRBill » Mon. Apr. 03, 2017 5:18 pm

I made the initial post about who the Wandering Woodsman was. He has some really nice videos, but I don't think he will be able to answer all of the questions I have.

What I would really like is to find a current, or retired miner in the Southern Field. Lykens area or Good Spring? Why slope mines vs. drift mines? Were these guys just going down into old slope mines and extending them. Very few drift mines. The mines went N-S, but the veins went E-W, so how did they determine when and how to blast another hole into rock to get to the next vein? We all know there had to be pillars, but how did they determine where to leave the pillars. How did they get the coal to the slope mine entrance? Must have been by rail. Where did they get the rail, which is smaller than railroad rail? Muckers? How did they get rid of the overburdon of rock to get to the next vein and get it out of the mine. Here in the southern field, I think the overburdon is Pottsville Conglomerate. not shale. That's hard rock. Ventiliation? All of this mining is either electric or air powered. How did they get the air lines down and blow out CO2 and methane? Bunch of technical questions that only a miner could answer.

Okay, any miners, retired or otherwise want to comment. This is all the technical stuff about anthracite mining and should not be lost. We've all seen the pictures of abandoned mines, so let's hear it from the guys who worked there.

Bill

 
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Post by RT Hauling » Sat. Jun. 10, 2017 7:21 am

Got me doing a little research. Drift mines would be the least costly above water. Slopes are more economical in most cases due to the pitch of the vein and depths. A slope might cost 5 thousand dollars per 100 yards in labor. A shaft would be 30 thousand per 100 yards. These are 1866 prices. The shaft would mainly be used in a shallow basin.


 
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Post by Den034071 » Sat. Jun. 10, 2017 10:11 am

Bill pm me we can meet an no.9 mine in Lansford Pa. .I can show youa lot of mining an answer your questions most likely .jack^ six of us refurbished the mine doing most every thing a miner did .This was over 8 years of work .jack

 
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Post by freetown fred » Sat. Jun. 10, 2017 1:15 pm

There's an offer ya don't want to pass up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 
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Post by joeq » Sat. Jun. 10, 2017 2:15 pm

Bill, you didn't install a location to your profile. Like Fred said, there's a great offer, if you happen to be in Jacks neighborhood. Very generous of you Jack.

 
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Post by lzaharis » Sat. Jul. 15, 2017 10:24 am

DRBill wrote:I made the initial post about who the Wandering Woodsman was. He has some really nice videos, but I don't think he will be able to answer all of the questions I have.

1. What I would really like is to find a current, or retired miner in the Southern Field. Lykens area or Good Spring? Why slope mines vs. drift mines? Were these guys just going down into old slope mines and extending them. Very few drift mines.

2. The mines went N-S, but the veins went E-W, so how did they determine when and how to blast another hole into rock to get to the next vein?

3. We all know there had to be pillars, but how did they determine where to leave the pillars. How did they get the coal to the slope mine entrance?

Must have been by rail. Where did they get the rail, which is smaller than railroad rail? Muckers? How did they get rid of the overburden of rock to get to the next vein and get it out of the mine. Here in the southern field, I think the overburden is Pottsville Conglomerate. not shale. That's hard rock. Ventilliation? All of this mining is either electric or air powered. How did they get the air lines down and blow out CO2 and methane? Bunch of technical questions that only a miner could answer.

Okay, any miners, retired or otherwise want to comment. This is all the technical stuff about anthracite mining and should not be lost. We've all seen the pictures of abandoned mines, so let's hear it from the guys who worked there.

Bill
======================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================================

Coming to this late and I sincerely apologize for my tardiness in responding.

(1)Coal was found at the surface near water courses or exposed in rock cliffs and it was hand mined from the exposed outcropping of coal until it was mined out or was no longer safe to mine by hand.
Most coal seams including the deep mined metallurgical Bituminous and Anthracite coal seams Alabama that have huge methane concentrations that are released when the coal is mined.

(2) like most early mines they simply followed the coal seam as it payed out they hand mined deeper this required them to narrow the tunnels and add more timber bracing for supporting the mine roof as the slope drift tunnel became deeper.
The near surface coal seams were affected by the overburden layers of mud that became limestone, slate stone and shale stone that covered the peat bogs and old forests that existed during the carboniforus periods up to 200 million years ago.

(3) experience taught them how large to make the pillars while mining as they also needed to mine a lot of coal. They found that leaving small pillars with narrow tunnels allowed them to mine more effectively and mining more coal in the process BUT this was long before mine engineering rock mechanics became a known science to design room and pillar mining patterns.
The blast holes were hand drilled up and loaded with black powder until compressed air rock drills came into use and after dynamite came into use it made the mining easier and faster to do.

a. core drilling came into favor to explore the earth to find more coal and other ores saving time and money in exploring for coal and other ores as tunneling was the only way to find valued ores from a surface location where coal was found.
As far as the rail used there are and were many sizes of railroad rail for underground mining and surface transportation use and the rail is sized in relation to the size of the steel railroad wheel and the weight of the rail per yard of length. railroad rail was originally made from cast iron and did not last very long and it eventually was replaced by steel rail. Railroad rail comes in 39 foot lengths which allowed the rail to be carried in forty foot gondola cars. I was lowered underground by securing it to flat cars and carried to the point where it was removed and installed by using railroad spikes pounded into railroad ties cut from local timber.

As to how it was removed from the mine face:
hand baskets
wheel barrows
pony carts
mule carts
horse carts
push cars on rails
compressed air powered muckers that were small track drive muckers that were used to load mine dump cars.
eventually battery powered haulage came into being that eventually was replaced by electric powered mining machinery that used track loaders converted from gas or diesel engines to electric motor powered muckers that used medium voltage/high voltage trailing electric power cables to power them
battery powered locomotives pulling side dump cars
electric trolley locomotives powered by medium voltage electricity (600-1000 AC or DC Voltage)
slope mines had single and double drum tugger hoists on the surface that were steam powered then electric powered to pull the coal cars up the rail car slope.
the locomotives were either pulled to the surface to have the batteries recharged or it was done underground in the designated battery room that was also a repair shop.


As far as mine ventilation went there was none until compressed air then electric powered fans came into use to disperse and delete the smoke and methane from the mine face and wood and brick walls were built to direct the fresh air ventilation to the mine face.

The out growth of this became brattice walls made from man made brattice cloth used to create the walls used to direct the fresh air to the mine face.

A further outgrowth of this was brattice tubing that was attached to mine ventilation fans that directed the fresh air to the mine face and also exhausted the smoke and fumes from blasting away from the mine face to the exhaust air tunnels away from the active mining area.

Spun Fiberglass ventilation tubing in long sections is used now as a permanent method to deliver fresh air to mine faces and to also serve as exhaust fume tubing in automotive and rail road tunnels where diesel locomotives are used to move goods and passengers.

I have probably forgotten a few things but I hope I have helped you gain a better understanding of it all.

 
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Post by Lsdbeerchugger23 » Wed. Jan. 16, 2019 1:32 am

DRBill wrote:
Mon. Apr. 03, 2017 5:18 pm
I made the initial post about who the Wandering Woodsman was. He has some really nice videos, but I don't think he will be able to answer all of the questions I have.

What I would really like is to find a current, or retired miner in the Southern Field. Lykens area or Good Spring? Why slope mines vs. drift mines? Were these guys just going down into old slope mines and extending them. Very few drift mines. The mines went N-S, but the veins went E-W, so how did they determine when and how to blast another hole into rock to get to the next vein? We all know there had to be pillars, but how did they determine where to leave the pillars. How did they get the coal to the slope mine entrance? Must have been by rail. Where did they get the rail, which is smaller than railroad rail? Muckers? How did they get rid of the overburdon of rock to get to the next vein and get it out of the mine. Here in the southern field, I think the overburdon is Pottsville Conglomerate. not shale. That's hard rock. Ventiliation? All of this mining is either electric or air powered. How did they get the air lines down and blow out CO2 and methane? Bunch of technical questions that only a miner could answer.

Okay, any miners, retired or otherwise want to comment. This is all the technical stuff about anthracite mining and should not be lost. We've all seen the pictures of abandoned mines, so let's hear it from the guys who worked there.

Bill

 
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Post by Tc_Anthracite » Sun. Sep. 20, 2020 1:26 pm

DRBill wrote:
Mon. Apr. 03, 2017 5:18 pm
I made the initial post about who the Wandering Woodsman was. He has some really nice videos, but I don't think he will be able to answer all of the questions I have.

What I would really like is to find a current, or retired miner in the Southern Field. Lykens area or Good Spring? Why slope mines vs. drift mines? Were these guys just going down into old slope mines and extending them. Very few drift mines. The mines went N-S, but the veins went E-W, so how did they determine when and how to blast another hole into rock to get to the next vein? We all know there had to be pillars, but how did they determine where to leave the pillars. How did they get the coal to the slope mine entrance? Must have been by rail. Where did they get the rail, which is smaller than railroad rail? Muckers? How did they get rid of the overburdon of rock to get to the next vein and get it out of the mine. Here in the southern field, I think the overburdon is Pottsville Conglomerate. not shale. That's hard rock. Ventiliation? All of this mining is either electric or air powered. How did they get the air lines down and blow out CO2 and methane? Bunch of technical questions that only a miner could answer.

Okay, any miners, retired or otherwise want to comment. This is all the technical stuff about anthracite mining and should not be lost. We've all seen the pictures of abandoned mines, so let's hear it from the guys who worked there.

Bill
( Miner in Tower City )
Slopes follow the vein so they are cheap , usually short term and for the small guy
A drift goes against the veins and you have access to multiple veins at once , so you must drive rock and this is costly for the small guy . Its also illegal; to drive a new drift due to water .

You use a compass and tape measure to determine where your going .

Pillars are left on the way in to rob on the way out , you generally dont leave any pillars behind , aside from what the law calls for . You choose to leave them as your roof lets you as a miner. When your timber starts taking any weight , this is usually a good sign .

On Flat Pitch they use double drum winches and a V shaped bucket with cables to drag coal back and fourth after shoveling coal in the path of the v shaped bucket it gets dragged to where you load off a ramp into a gangway buggy , witch will take it to a slope buggy

On Pitch most of the work is done by gravity . Except for cross cuts ( breasts ) between pillars and shoots


The rail used can be bought at various steel factories in the area.

Muckers ? Watch your head , What do ya wanna know?

OverBurden is moved to place you have taken the coal from already , we call them rock gobs .
if that isnt an option you ship it outside and pick out what you can .

Ventilation is hard to describe out without typing a ton
it is done by keeping the air flowing in a complete connection of portals , and keeping parallel connections every 60-120 feet
Every few connections you block off the priors to keep the air moving forward , in a non connected area you use line brattish
( basically heavy tyvac ) as a wall / to keep an in and out for the air

We dont use airlines to blow out gas , just run tools .
Mines will use a huge airline typically 2-6" and a few tanks on the way down to keep pressure up and catch condensation otherwise its a just an extra tough pvc or aluminum pipe with straw connections

 
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Post by freetown fred » Sun. Sep. 20, 2020 1:58 pm

Damn thorough explanation T. Ya covered it well. Thanx!! :)

 
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Post by RT Hauling » Sun. Sep. 20, 2020 5:59 pm

Good info on how it's done. Nice to hear from experience as much of what I find is from old books found online. Just like the one I quoted from from the 1800's and these were no small operations.


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