nortcan wrote:Hi, here we don't know very much about anthracite mining and I find this subject super interessant and instructive.
I always asked to myself how you do to seperate coal (bit) from anthracite while mining?
Thanks to help me in this area of yours.
Originally, the actual anthracite coal was separated out from the slate, rock, dirt, etc. that came up from the mine by "breaker boys." These very young boys would sit on long benches and pick out the chunks of coal that went by them on a conveyor belt. Of course, they missed a lot of coal. The discarded "gob" would be placed in a big pile called a "culm bank." These "eye sores" were found all over the anthracite mine country. Eventually, people realized that the culm banks contained a lot of valuable coal that could be pulverized and used as fuel by electric power plants. The culm banks have mostly disappeared.
In the 1930's, an engineer invented a device called a "menzies cone" that perfected the process of separating out the anthracite by means of centrifugal force and water jets although big chunks of slate were still picked out by hand. I believe that it is still in use. See link below.
This link is broken, either the page no longer exists or there is some other issue like a typo.