Longwall Top Coal Caving (LTCC) technology
Yancoal introduced the Longwall Top Coal Caving (LTCC) mining technology to Australia at its Austar mine in 2006. Developed in China, top coal caving uses a modified long wall mining system.
LTCC allows the excavation of thick coal seams of 5 to 12 metres at one pass of the longwall machine, generating high productivity and economic returns for an operation. The thick coal seam mining technique is a significant advance in underground coal mining and has worldwide potential. The technology has already been successfully implemented in a number of mines in China and has similar potential among Australian underground mines.
The technology enables much greater resource recovery in thick seams such as Austar’s Greta Seam. By using the LTCC mining method, a further 80% of the additional coal in the seam can be accessed and recovered, significantly improving the total recovery of the in-ground coal resource and overall mine economics.
The introduction of LTCC to Australia is a collaborative effort between Chinese, German and Australian engineers. Yancoal Australia’s major shareholder Yanzhou Coal Mining Company, is acknowledged as being one of the safest and most productive users of the technique. The company holds and owns patent rights to the design in China and Australia, and Austar's longwall equipment was manufactured under license by a German company (DBT).
LTCC technology has also been introduced to the North Goonyella underground mine in Queensland (owned by Peabody) under a partnership deal where Yanzhou owns the longwall and shares in the additional coal produced by using the technology. This was the second installation of the LTCC in Australia.