In the cave of Velenje Coal Mine, where coal is mined more than five hundred metres underground, we have been using the most advanced equipment and technology for underground coal mining for many years. Due to the global trend towards abandoning the use of fossil fuels and, as a result, the increasingly difficult supply of this type of equipment, Velenje Coal Mine created its own section years ago, which is used in excavations and is an indispensable and essential element for the safe extraction of coal. With the goal of as much self-sufficiency and independence as possible, we continue to modernise the equipment of foreign suppliers, which we replace with our own engineering knowledge, which is why we produced our own longwall chain conveyor at the end of last year, which is currently being installed on the new G4/C excavation. In this way we are getting closer to the goal of complete independence from external, especially foreign, equipment suppliers.
“In the Velenje Coal Mine Group, we continue the tradition of developing our own coal mining equipment, which was started by our then subsidiary company ESO, d. d., which later split into two companies, namely ESO – electro-mechanical equipment, d. d., and Esotech, d. d. The company ESO – electro-mechanical equipment produced very advanced mining equipment in those days. In recent years, mining equipment for Velenje Coal Mine has been manufactured by our subsidiaries Sipoteh and HTZ,” pointed out the General Manager of Velenje Coal Mine, Marko Mavec, MSc.
As the manufacturer of the longwall chain conveyor, Velenje Coal Mine has also produced the Technical File of the machine, as we are obliged to do so by mining and other legislation. In addition to the general description of the machine, the technical file also contains a more detailed description of the equipment; the machine manufacturing process with all attestations and certificates; instructions for use, instructions for assembly, disassembly and transport of equipment; instructions for safe work and declaration of conformity. The technical file also includes a risk analysis, with an assessment of potential hazards and measures to prevent the occurrence of hazards. All installed electrical and mechanical equipment complies with the machine safety regulations and the ATEX Directive, which sets high standards of explosion protection. One copy of the technical file is kept by the international agency Bureau Veritas.
In the past, we produced cave sections, mining conveyors and other equipment for coal mining in Šalek Valley. On the basis of the existing plans and especially our directions, the production of equipment for our coal mine was continued by foreign, mainly European, suppliers. In recent years, most of the equipment we need for coal mining in Velenje Coal Mine has been manufactured by ourselves, as it is created on the basis of our many years of experience and our expert engineering knowledge.
Many electrical, mechanical and mining experts who are employed in various coal mining services and companies participated in the production of the longwall chain conveyor and, in parallel, also the Technical File. The company Sipoteh, which is 100% owned by Velenje Coal Mine, participated as a subcontractor in the production of the machine itself. Just like years ago during the production of our own section, the employees of that company also produced the entire structure and other metal parts of the conveyor. With this project, we reaffirmed the importance of cooperation both at different levels of the company and within the Velenje Coal Mine Group.
Photo: Miran Beškovnik
Public Relations Department of the Velenje Coal Mine Group