To Access the Coal: Unique TBM tackles Decline Drives

When a location in remote Northeastern Australia near the town of Moranbah was designated as a new, “greenfield” site for a coal mine, the owner – the mining company Anglo American – was concerned about the project schedule and the necessary time to access the coal. A deep coal seam required access via decline tunnels within a quick time frame. To achieve this, the mine opted for the use of a tunnel boring machine, marking the first use of TBM technology in the Queensland coal industry.

The TBM would develop both drifts, contributing positively to stability, safety, and schedule. The tunnels, however, called for a highly unique Dual Mode EPB/Rock TBM design, and a machine that could operate even in the presence of potentially hazardous methane gas.

Coal Mine Construction

The Grosvenor Decline Tunnel is a 1.95 billion Australian dollar coal project and is part of an initiative aimed at tripling Anglo American’s metallurgical output to 20 million metric tons by the year 2020. The new mine targets the Gonyella Middle coal seam, and is expected to produce five million tonnes of...

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