The Thin Coal Seam (TCS) Mining Technology for Open Pit Mines in China


Coal seam that is thinner than a certain value is defined as thin coal seams (TCS). It commonly occurs in China as it covers 84.2% of the mining area. This situation is even severe in China's large surface coal mines, in which TCS accounts for 10—50% of the total reserve. Most TCS cannot be feasibly mined due to the working conditions of commonly used mining equipment. A tremendous of resource is wasted due to the abandon of TCS as overburden waste. It also causes environmental problems. This paper investigated the current status of TCS mining in China, and compared different approaches to feasibly recovery this resource. The surface miner method has the potential and advantages to be applied to the mining of TCS, and a method to optimize its working condition is proposed. A case study was conducted, which shows, if correctly planned, a surface miner can recover most of the TCS reserve without delaying the main coal seam production.


Mining Engineering


This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 51574222), Program for New Century Excellent Talents in University (Grant No. NCET-13-1022). These supports are gratefully acknowledged.

Keywords and Phrases

Coal; Coal deposits; Coal mines; Metal recovery; Miners; Mining; Mining equipment; Optimization; Proven reserves; Coal recovery; Current status; Distribution analysis; Environmental problems; Large surfaces; Mining areas; Mining technology; Thin coal seams; Open pit mining; Coal mining; Coal seam; Fragmentation; Hydrocarbon technology; Optimization; recovery method; China; Fragmentation distribution analysis; Surface miner

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0960-3182; 1573-1529

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2018 Springer Verlag, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Dec 2018