Six decades of the Field “B” in MB “Kolubara”, lignite exploration remains the foundation of the country power generation cycle

29. March 2013. / Mining

The last year stands out for record outputs of coal and overburden – Key moments in the development of the Field “B”.

Open pit mine Field “B” is the oldest active open pit mine in the Mining Basin “Kolubara”. Following many years of stagnation, the mine rapid expansion started in the year 2010, when the mine Field “D” found itself in an unfavorable position due to the growing problems related to Vreoci expropriation,  so that the production of coal in this part of the Mining Basin was focused on the Field “B”. At that time, this coal mine had already taken a part of the projected position of OPM Field “C”.

In August 2010, the first C system with the “BWE 6” came from the Field “D” to oldest open pit mine. Because of an increase in coal production in 2011, a new ECS line was formed to serve as a common system for the Fields “B” and “D”, transporting coal via the belt conveyor system to the third phase of Dry Separation process. In that year, a record production of three million tons of coal and 6.9 million m3 of overburden was achieved.

In the 60th Jubilee year, Field “B” made the largest production balance since it has introduced the surface exploitation. So, during the year 2012, about 3,765,000 tons of coal has been transported to TPPs and consumers, while 7,131,220 m3 of overburden has been disposed. Although these are the highest recorded results, the plan was not fulfilled.  This means that planned production for coal was achieved with 94.15 %, and the overburden output was 10.86 % under planned. The Director of the Field “B” Predrag Simić says that there were many factors influencing such a production balance.

– In the first place, weather conditions for the most of the year were extreme, so the planned production tasks could not be responded to both technically and technologically. The very beginning of the year did not promise anything good. Then, in fact, only one overburden system with one excavator  on the three benches operated, while the second excavator connected coal production in the winter period and at the same time it has was going down to the roof seam in order to make any production  – said Simić. – Do not forget the extreme precipitation and temperatures in that period. From the Field “D”, first ECS system with “Excavator 5” came in April. The system incorporation into the Field “B” operations required many modifications. The situation improved considerably when it comes to the production of overburden, but it was already too late to reach a balance of seven million cubic meters.

During the summer, a number of overburden systems modifications were performed. In October, the excavator “1″ arrived from the Field  “D”  which certainly increased capacities needed for the overburden in the Field” B “. However, the third overburden system for which this excavator was to represent the main support is not yet formed, due to lack of the equipment.

As Simić pointed out, the coal production was stable last year. Difficulties that during the winter months were caused by severe frosts and heavy rainfalls, were quickly surmounted and normal production was resumed.

Certainly, the year ahead of the oldest Kolubara open pit mine will be the most important and certainly the most challenging one. Namely, in 2013 production of five million tons of coal and removal of 13.5 million cubic meters of overburden was planned.

However, in order to achieve this, many requirements need to be met, out of which the most important is the relocation of Baroševac cemetery.

According to Mr. Simic, the development of the Field “B” has reached a key point.

At this point, according to all the indications, the future operations shall likely consider circumventing the cemetery, as it is now pretty much certain that the relocation will not be done according to the schedule.

The entire relocation procedure is not expected to be finally completed until next year. The final phase involves that the BWE can approach and dig the ground beneath the cemetery, where there is the least overburden, in order to open a large amount of coal – said Simić. – However, with the variant of circumventing Baroševac cemetery, 13.5 million tons i.e. 15 million cubic meters of overburden should be excavated in order to produce five million tons of coal. Therefore, we expect that the original plan is going to be corrected by the end of the year to 4 – 4.5 million tons of coal.

Three overburden systems needed.

In order to achieve the planned volume, it is necessary to have three overburden systems in operation, while in the Field “B”  for the time being only two are active, and the third in the current phase is associated with the system of interburden. For its final formation there is no enough equipment, but it is expected that the relocation of a drive station with the corresponding elements from “Tamnava West Field” this problem would be solved. Unfortunately, the delay in erection of this system will also affect the overall balance of overburden production at the end of the year.

Source Serbia energy /EPS Kwh/RBK

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