Beijing, China (September 03, 2009) /ChinaNewswire.com/ — By using surface mining technolgy supplied by Wirtgen China, a member of the Germany-based Wirtgen Group, Shenhua Beidian Shengli Energy Company has been able to make large savings in fuel consumption and the corresponding greenhouse gas emissions associated with opencast coal mining.

China Shenhua Shengli Energy Branch is one of the core enterprises of China Shenhua Energy Company Ltd. and is focused on building and operating a large-scale coal power plant. The plan is to build a pithead power plant with a capacity of 16 x 660MW, located beside the opencast coal mine in Xilinhot City, Inner Mongolia. This will be the largest plant of its type in the world to be located directly beside a coal mine.

To transport the initial yearly production of 10 million tons, the original extraction method at the coal mine required about 526,000 trips per year by three axle 20-ton trucks. This was because their real load, when mined and loaded by conventional excavators, was only 19 tons.

China Shenhua is now using Wirtgen Surface Miner 2200SM/3800 equipment that can cut up to 5,000 tons based on an eight-hour work shift. The Surface Miner makes cuts 3.80 meters wide and an average of 25 centimeters deep and leaves the material in a windrow behind the machine. The cut coal is then loaded onto the trucks using wheeled loaders. Due to the cutting technology, the material appears as a pre-crushed product of which 97% is smaller than 100mm. Only sizing is required to get the final particle size and this reduces overall investment and operating costs. As the material is much smaller and consistent, it is possible to load around 10% more material on the same truck or train compared to coal mined by excavators.

This increase in loading has reduced the number of trips required to just 500,000. The 26,000 trips less per year represent less fuel consumption, lower emissions of green house gasses, lower repair and maintenance costs and less traffic. Since there is less spillage on the haul roads, experience shows that this technology is also safer. Further improvements will be achieved since larger dump trucks are coming into operation soon. The same effect of better loading factors also applies to long-distance rail transport.

When asked about the new technique introduced by Wirtgen, Mr. Lui, the President and Chairman of China Shenhua Shengli Energy Branch Co. Ltd, said: "At present, there are two methods of opencast coal mining: power shovel and tip truck, and semi-continuous (power shovel and mobile crusher). The first method involves high running costs and the second method requires a high one-time investment. We want to use the Wirtgen surface mining method to replace these methods and we have already investigated the efficiency and capability of the Wirtgen 4200 SM."

"We went to India last year especially to investigate an opencast mine. This is an opencast coal mine with an annual production of 10 million tons and it uses Wirtgen surface miners exclusively. This method of opencast mining is simple, it eliminates crushing and power shovels, and is very efficient. After visiting this mine, we made our decision immediately," Mr. Lui added.

Recently Wirtgen China and Shenhua Beidian Energy Co. Ltd. Held a Surface Mining Seminar in Xilinhot for other companies who are working in the open cast coal mining field. Wirtgen introduced the complete technology and Shenhua Beidian also spoke of their experience of the product. After the presentations, all attendants went to the coal mine to see the machine in operation.

About the Wirgen Group
The Wirtgen Group is an internationally operating group of companies in the construction machinery sector incorporating four traditional brands: Wirtgen, Vögele, Hamm and Kleemann. As technological leader, they offer their customers mobile machine solutions for road construction and road rehabilitation, as well as for mining and processing minerals. In 2008, with its workforce of more than 4,500 men and women, the Wirtgen Group generated consolidated sales of 1.5 billion euros.

The Wirtgen Group has been present in China for more than 20 years and since 2004 has operated an assembly factory in Langfang, Hebei Province. With more than nine branches and 200 employees, Wirtgen China is always close to their customers.