No. 12 Colliery in the New Waterford district was opened in 1908, through slopes on the outcrop of the Victoria Seam. This seam corresponds with the Harbour Seam in the Glace Bay district and the Sydney Main Seam on the North side of Sydney Harbour.
The seam is 6 ft. 6 ins. thick and the coal is of a good metallurgical quality. It is low in sulphur and ash but high in volatile matter. This coal has good coking qualities.
The roof and floor of the seam consists of shale. This is very friable when brought into contact with water or air.
The method of working is longwall advancing. The colliery is completely mechanized with the coal being cut and loaded onto Python chain conveyors by DOSCO Continuous Miners.
The roadways are supported with semi-circular steel arches and at the present time 20.16 miles of roadways in the active workings are supported in this manner.
The mine is gassy and is ventilated by two electrically driven fans located on the return airways on the flanks of the colliery, at Low Point on the West side of No. 12 Colliery, on the East side where the roadways of the abandoned No. 14 Mine are used as a return airway system for No. 12 Colliery.
At low Point a Sirocco centrifugal type fan produces 85,000 cubic feet of air at a water gauge of 12 inches and at No. 14 Colliery a Sheldon centrifugal fan provides 100,000 cubic feet against a water gauge of 12.1 inches.
Due to the distance of the active workings from the surface and the high colliery resistance, a booster fan is located at the intake side of the East split approximately two miles from the surface, to assist the ventilation on this side of the mine.
The booster is a Sirocco fan with a rated capacity of 75,000 c.f.m. and a water gauge of 2 inches. This fan now delivers 47,000 cu. ft. per minute at a water gauge of 4.6 inches.
The water made in this colliery is acid and amounts to 175 gallons per minute.
The main air line consists of 12", 10", 8" and 4" pipe totaling 60,400 feet in length.
The main haulage is a balanced trip haulage hoisting 14 - 3-ton aluminum cars per trip. This haulage is electrically operated and serves the upper 7500 feet of the main haulage system. The hoist has a capacity of 1600 horsepower.
An auxiliary haulage serves the lower portion of the main haulage and is also of the balanced trip variety. This hoist, which has a capacity of 1,325 electrical horsepower, is located 6,500 ft. from the surface, in a well constructed and ventilated concrete lined engine house.
The subsidiary haulage levels are served by twelve - 15-ton diesel locomotives, of the North British type, with a rated capacity of 100 horsepower. These locomotives are also used for spotting the cars under the conveyor loading stations.
The surface plant, including the hoists, compressors, shops and screening plant, is electrically operated. The compressors are of the Ingersoll-Rand horizontal type, with a capacity of 10,040 cu. ft. of air per minute at 85 lb. pressure per square inch.
The screening plant is of a perforated-plate type, producing screened, run-of-mine and 1-1/4 inch slack.
The colliery has a capacity of 3,700 tons per day on a two-shift operation, and has since it was opened in 1908 produced 22,000,516 long tons. The area worked over to date amounts to 3488 acres and still has an estimated life of 26 years.
During the life of the colliery there have been three serious accidents, two of which resulted in loss of life.
The most disastrous was in a loss of 65 lives, 62 as a direct result of the explosion and three workmen who died in an attempt to rescue their comrades.
At the inquiry following the explosion, it was concluded that gas was ignited on No. 3 Room, No. 4 Balance, No. 6 West level, by ignition from a shot in the coal.
The coal in this room had pronounced cleavage planes and it was determined after the explosion that the shot which was fired in the East rib did not bring the coal down, although it was well bored, properly stemmed and not over-loaded. It was concluded that part of the explosive force escaped as a flame down the cleavage plane to the mining, promoting a gas, or a gas and dust explosion.
The explosion did not cause any extensive damage other than local falls and the colliery was in operation within a very short time.
In 1943 an extensive fire threw part of the colliery idle for many months and resulted in the death of two workmen in No. 14 Colliery on the return side of the fire area.
The fire was discovered at 6.55 A.M. on May 26th, 1943. The fire was reported in the belt way on No. 13 West level. An attempt was made to contain the fire with water and stonedust, but it had reached such proportions that this failed, and the area was sealed off with sandfilled stoppings.
The fire area continued to heat and an attempt was made to cool off the section and six tons of dry ice was introduced through the seals. Analysis showed continued active heating. The sand seals in the level and cut-off were therefore reinforced with concrete and steel. Water was turned into the area through the air lines from the surface, and the fire was put out.
On Monday, September 26, 1960, fire was discovered on the main slope above No. 5 West landing. The fire was caused by a runaway trip of mine cars. Apparently a spark produced by the trip landing against a concrete abutment lodged in the overhead lagging was fanned into flame by the air current. There were no fatalities, but the colliery was idle for over a week to clean the damage.
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Last Modified: 98-01-05
Authored by: Louis Frost
The information contained on this site is not provided for the purpose of factual
representation. Instead, it is provided in an historical context. Every effort has
been made to ensure that this information represents the actual content of the
original document authored by Louis Frost for the Dominion Coal Company
on or around 1962. Nevertheless, no warranties are provided in any respect.
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