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What is horizon or horizontal mining?


Answer #1
Horizon or horizontal mining can be applied to extraction of material from seams of any stratified mineral such as limestone or ironstone, but it is more usually associated with coal - PArticularly where there are several seams that are inclined or folded and/or faulted.

Horizon mining involves long level roadways (horizons) being driven from the shafts to the extremity of the area to be mined.

The levels of the horizons are chosen to intersect the maximum number of seams the maximum number of times. As the seams are intersected, headings will be driven into the seam so that the desired material may be extracted. This method of mining requires a thorough understanding of the geological structure of the area to be mined so that the level of the horizons can be chosen for optimum results.

This method of mining is popular in modern coalmines with seams worked from several horizons. The considerable capital outlay of driving horizons before production can begin is recouped by the advantage of having long straight level roadways of generous dimensions unaffected by the crushing effect of nearby extraction of the mineral.

Answer #2
In modern horizon mining, several horizons will be driven in the same direction from a vertical shaft. The horizons will appear as a vertical stack of roadways, which it is difficult to represent on a conventional mine, plan. This being the case, it is usual to show the relative position of horizons on an isometric drawing for clarity.

Although horizon mining is developed in Germany in the early 20th century, its origins almost certainly date to the Duke of Bridgewater's coalmines at Worsley near Manchester. It was here in 1765 that a branch of the Bridgewater Canal was driven into the mine so that loaded boats could travel from the working face in the mine directly to Manchester, which was some 8 miles away - and without any double handling of the cargo. This caused the price of coal in Manchester to drop from (in modern units) 45p/tonne to 22p/tonne - a 50% reduction!

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