The Twentymile Mine shipped 7.2 million tons of low-sulfur steam coal in 2013. The operation has a workforce of about 470 and is located in Northwest Colorado on 200,000 acres in the Uinta Coal Basin. Twentymile opened in 1983 and was purchased by Peabody Energy in April 2005 as part of an acquisition of three mines from RAG Coal International AG. The mine has 34 million tons of recoverable coal reserves.
Coal is extracted from the Wadge seam, which averages 9-feet thick. The bituminous coal has a heating value of 11,200 Btu per pound and low sulfur and ash content, which makes it ideal for utility customers to meet clean air requirements.
Twentymile is a longwall operation. Remotely controlled, the shearer removes 40 inches of coal from the face during each mining pass. Longwall panels at Twentymile are 1,000-feet wide and extend up to three miles long. A 50-foot section of the panel is removed on each day, producing an average of 22,000 tons of coal. Twentymile also operates two continuous miners in sections that develop more than 200 feet of entryway per shift, producing 1,400 tons of coal in the process.
Twentymile’s innovative conveyor belt technology is known industrywide. Twentymile was the first to develop a scissorveyor that allows flexibility of the belt structure and eliminates production delays for structure removal as the longwall retreats. Twentymile maintains more than eight miles of underground belt line. A 72-inch wide panel belt and high-speed 60-inch mainline belt have the capacity to move more than 12 million tons of coal a year to the surface.
Twentymile is on the Union Pacific Railroad line and loads one to two unit trains daily. Each unit trail has 100 to 115 cars carrying 11,000 tons of coal per trip. The mine ships to customers in nearby Colorado communities and points as far away as Florida.
Twentymile’s commitment to excellent employee safety, environmental protection and community involvement continues to win national honors. In 2012, three Twentymile miners earned Excellence in Safety Awards from the Colorado Mining Association (CMA) and the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety. The prior year, the operation and its workforce also earned multiple honors for safety from the CMA and the state of Colorado. Also in 2012, the mine received the Environmental Stewardship Award from the CMA for its recycling programs. Twentymile also earned the President’s Award for being the safest Peabody underground operation in 2012, marking the third time the mine achieved the President’s award since 2005.