Coal Mine #7 near Longyearbyen.

This exhibit was posted on 7-5-2005


Please Note:  The background on this page is an aerial photo of the sea ice near the island of Svalbard, Norway


Inside Coal Mine #7 near Longyearbyen.

Randall Peeters in Coal Mine #7 of Longyearbyen Norway.
Photo by Randall Peeters
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This is a close-up of the equipment that is used to tour Coal Mine #7 in Longyearbyen.  The man here is Randall Peeters from the U.S.

After everyone was suited up, we got into the truck and drove five kilometers to where we would transfer to a specially made vehicle used to transport mine workers throughout the mine.  The interesting thing is that coal veins are only about five feet thick so that is all that is dug out of the mine leaving the ceiling only five feet above the mine floor.  Therefore the specially made transport vehicle is very short and everyone had to lay down in it to keep from bumping our heads. 

In the mine tunnels there are a number of safety devices.  First of all the ceiling is drilled with holes that are about three feet deep.  Then a long bolt that has a two part epoxy coating layered on its surface is spun all the way into the holes.  When the bolt is spun into the holes it mixes the epoxy which almost instantly sets permanently locking the bolt into the ceiling.  This is to keep the ceiling from cracking and caving in. 

Another safety device in the mine are shelves that are attached into the ceiling.  On the shelves are bags of Chalk.   In the event of a mine explosion, the bags of chalk break sending chalk throughout the mine air system.  This chalk dilutes the coal dust to a point where it is no longer combustible eliminating the propagation of the explosion throughout the mine. 

Another big safety device are very large, high flow, fans that pull the air out of the mine which pulls the dust out too along with methane gas which is also a big coal mine explosion hazard.

The coal is dug out for about forty feet then the drilling cart drives in and places these bolts in the ceiling before anymore digging proceeds.   After the digging and before the bolts are put in you can hear the top of the mine cracking under the weight of the mountain.





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