Bringing down the highwall
In the largest coal-producing state in the U.S., a Hitachi EX2500-6 carries a heavy workload at Peabody’s Rawhide Mine.
Bringing down a 60-degree, 180-foot highwall is just part of the daily workload for a Hitachi EX2500-6 at Peabody’s Rawhide Mine, a thermal coal surface mine located 10 miles north of Gillette, Wyo.
“The Hitachi EX2500-6 excavator is used to bring down the highwall in the pit,” said Eric Martin, general manager of Rawhide Mine.
Operating 23 surface mines in the U.S. and Australia, Peabody is the leading global pure-play coal company and a member of the Fortune 500. The company serves power and steel customers in more than 25 countries on six continents. Rawhide Mine was acquired from Exxon Coal and Minerals Company in 1994.
The EX2500-6 is just one of several Hitachi mining excavators in the company’s fleet, which also includes shovels operating at its North Antelope Rochelle Mine (NARM), the largest coal mine in the world; and at its Caballo Mine.
Peabody’s Rawhide Mine, Caballo Mine and NARM are all located in the Powder River Basin (PRB), the largest producing coal region in Wyoming.
These PRB operations have earned more than 25 honors for safety and environmental excellence since 2006. Among those honors, Rawhide Mine earned the Small Surface Operation Safety Award from the Wyoming Mining Association and the Wyoming State Inspector of Mines for the best safety performance in 2013.
“Safety is ingrained in our company culture as our leading core value,” Martin said. “Employees at Rawhide Mine are like family; we look out for each other.”
The EX2500-6 is helping the operation mine two seams of coal at Rawhide Mine – the Smith seam and the Roland seam – which range up to 120 feet in thickness. An on-site processing plant crushes and sizes the coal, which is then loaded on rail cars for distribution. In 2017, the mine sold 10.3 million tons of coal and provided $160 million worth of direct and indirect economic benefits.
Peabody partnered with local Hitachi dealer Arnold Machinery to acquire the EX2500-6 for Rawhide Mine.
“We have a long partnership with Arnold Machinery,” Martin said.
Operators at the mine appreciate that the 2500 is smooth and the cab is quiet which is important when working 12-hour shifts.”
Cycle of sustainability
Mining isn’t the only activity taking place at Rawhide Mine. Peabody views land restoration as an essential part of the mining process and manages land reclamation with pride and a spirit of sustainability.
In 2017, the company restored 5,145 acres of coal-mined lands globally. These efforts are visually evident at Rawhide Mine with reclaimed land supporting abundant wildlife and vegetation.
“It’s important to be good stewards of the land,” Martin said. “We work simultaneously to reclaim coal-mined land as quickly as possible to continue a sustainable cycle.”
Peabody’s Rawhide Mine is serviced by Arnold Machinery, Gillette, Wyo.
This article first appeared in Hitachi’s BREAKOUT magazine, Winter 2018 issue.
(By Kristin Stires)