In December 2019, West River Conveyors had the opportunity to complete a coal transfer assembly line for leading coal producer Buchanan Mines.

Specifically built to accommodate the growing needs of the mining operation, this transfer assembly project required professionalism and hands-on experience while developing a unique and compact design. West River Conveyor’s 35 years of mining machinery expertise fully equipped the company to take on the challenges a project of this scale would afford.

A Virginia Powerhouse

Nestled in the southwestern tip of Virginia’s Appalachian Basin, the Buchanan Mine complex first commenced its mining operations in 1983.

In only a few short decades, the facility became a leading coal extraction point for companies around America. By 2017, the Buchanan Mine Complex was one of the largest met coal producers in the Central Appalachians (CAPP region), surpassing its nearest competitor by over 1.8 metric tons per year. Located ten miles from Grundy, VA, the facility has seen unsurpassed growth in recent years.

The Buchanan Mine complex is an underground operation, specifically built to facilitate the large production of low-vol met coal. Because of this, ownership of a large, quality transfer assembly is paramount to their success.

Challenges & Solutions

With a hedge of opportunity on the horizon, Buchanan Mines quickly realized that the current transfer assembly system was no longer facilitating the company’s growing success.

The original system was thinly spread over a large area, reducing its effectiveness throughout the day. Thinner belt sizes increased spillage and maintenance cleanup at the end of daily operations. The lack of belt support led to significant tracking issues. Additionally, the less efficient machine was adding an unnecessary belt and idler costs to monthly overhead expenditures.

To optimize their system, all components of the original Buchanan Mine transfer assembly would need to be removed and redesigned.

After reaching out to West River Conveyors, the idea of a safe, efficient, and cost-effective transfer assembly was born. The new system would need to complete the same essential function as the previous installation while ensuring that productivity, flow rates, equipment problems, and worker safety were kept as a top priority.

Taking Transfer Assembly To The Next Level

Once the requirements and additional needs were made clear, West River Conveyor’s design professionals created a unique, compact transfer system specifically for the Buchanan Mines complex.

In two weeks, an initial model had been constructed via customer communications, as well as from insights gathered from on-site visitation to the facility. The final design would contain a larger, more efficient belt, including a higher level of safety precautions for workers and operators.

Boasting a neat and compact shape, the equipment was tailored specifically for the Buchanan Mine complex. Each component was a fabricated tail and transfer assembly and included Richwood belt cleaners and impact saddles. Additional features such as skirting, water sprays, and dust seal curtains offered safety for employees and operators and would reduce weekly maintenance costs.

Upon completion of the design, Buchanan Mine directors visited West River Conveyors at our Oakwood, VA, plant to review the operation of their new system. Once approval was met, the system was shipped to Buchanan for installation by the customer using drawings provided by West River Conveyors.

Since installation, the Buchanan Mine complex has seen significant decreases in cleanup needs due to spillage, as well as more productive run times. With reduced chances of belt damage, the client can operate their new transfer assembly with confidence and peace of mind. More than pleased with their new system, Buchanan Mines has ordered additional projects from West River Conveyors to be completed soon.

Learn More About Transfer Assembly Solutions From West River Conveyors

The operation of a successful coal mine is one thing, but its optimization and improvement for future success are quite another.

West River Conveyors is passionate about making a difference in your business, driven to find the best tailor-made solutions for your operational challenges. By receiving exposure to dozens of different mining setups throughout the United States, our professionals are highly experienced with modern technologies that will best serve your company’s obstacles.