glossary

GLOSSARY OF GEOLOGICAL, TECHNICAL AND MINERAL TERMS

TERM DEFINITION
Agglomeration A family of processes which can be used to concentrate valuable minerals (including coal) based on their adhesive properties.
Anthracite Anthracite is a type of coal that has the highest carbon content and the lowest moisture and ash content. Anthracite burns slowly and makes a good heating fuel for homes. The United States has about 7.3 billion tons of anthracite, most of which can be found in Pennsylvania.
Bituminous An intermediate ranked coal between anthracite and sub-bituminous coal. It has high carbon content and is low in moisture content. Bituminous coal can be used for both steelmaking and power generation. Low and medium volatile bituminous coals are ranked by their carbon content, while high volatile bituminous coals are ranked by their heating value. It is used to generate electricity and to produce coke, a coal residue used in the steel industry. Bituminous coal is the most plentiful type in the United States.
Boiler A tank in which water is heated or steam is generated.
Breaker A machine which combines coal crushing and screening. Normally consists of a rotating drum in which coal is broken by gravity impact against the walls of the drum.
Btu Btu is an abbreviation for British thermal unit, the standard for measuring the energy required to raise the temperature of 1 pound of water by 1 degree Fahrenheit.
Carbon Dioxide A colorless, odorless, non- toxic radiative gas that is essential to plant and animal life. It is also emitted as a result of burning organic materials, including fossil fuels.
Charcoal The residue, primarily carbon, from the partial combustion of wood or other organic matter.
Clean-Coal Technologies Technologies that allow coal- based power or electricity generation to have improved environmental performance, through decreased emissions. These technologies decrease emissions by using coal in a more efficient and cost- effective manner.
Climate The long- term / overall weather of an area. Climate therefore, is the cumulative grouping of separate weather patterns. (see Weather)
Climate Change A wholly natural phenomenon in which climate varies over centuries and millennia through the influence of various factors, such as solar cycles, the change of relative humidity in the atmosphere, and changing levels of gases in the atmosphere.
Coal Coal is a burnable carbonaceous rock that contains large amounts of carbon. Coal is also a fossil fuel---a substance that contains the remains of plants and animals and that can be burned to release energy. Coal contains other elements such as hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen; has various amounts of minerals; and is itself considered to be a mineral of organic origin.
Coal Desulphurization Removal of sulphur from coal or coal gas.
Coal Gasification Coal gasification is the process that changes coal into a gas that has the same heating value as natural gas and that is cleaner than burning coal itself.
Coke A hard, dry carbon substance produced by heating coal to a very high temperature in the absence of air. Coke is used in the manufacture of iron and steel.
Continuous miner A continuous miner is a machine with large, rotating cutters that break into the coal and with arms that scoop the coal onto a built- in conveyor.
Deep mining See Underground mining.
Dip Inclination of geological features from the horizontal.
Dolerite Any dark, igneous rock composed chiefly of silicates of iron and magnesium with some feldspar.
Dyke A tabular igneous intrusion that cuts across the bedding or foliation of the country rock.
Ecca Group Stratigraphic sequence in Southern Africa containing coal deposits.
Energy The capacity to do work; more commonly used as an all- encompassing generic term describing fuel sources used to provide power.
Erosional surface Ground surface or lithological unit that has been subjected to weathering or geological erosion.
Fault Fracture or a fracture zone in crystal rocks along which there has been displacement of the two sides relative to one another parallel to the fracture.
Fossil fuel A fossil fuel is a fuel formed from the remains of organic materials. Fossil fuels include coal, oil, and natural gas.
Gasification (see Coal Gasification)
Generator A generator is a machine that turns mechanical energy into electric energy.
Geotechnical Engineering The branch of engineering that specializes in assessing the stability and strength of soil and rock materials, as well as groundwater conditions. In mining, geotechnical engineering principles are used to determine the appropriate design of mine features such as pit walls, tunnels and earthen embankments.
Hopper A bin or funnel that is loaded from the top and which discharges through a door or chute at the bottom.
Hydrocarbons A class of compounds containing hydrogen and carbon formed by the decomposition of plant and animal remains, including coal, mineral oil, petroleum, natural gas, paraffin, the fossil resins and the solid bitumens occurring in rocks. Gasoline is a mixture of hydrocarbons.
Igneous Said of a rock or mineral that solidified from molten or partly molten material, i.e., from a magma; also applied to processes leading to, related to, or resulting from the formation of such rocks. Igneous rocks constitute one of the three main classes into which rocks are divided, the others being metamorphic and sedimentary.
In situ Generally used with reference to the reporting of coal resources to indicate a volume or tonnage of coal present undisturbed in the ground.
Indicated Mineral Resource That portion of a Mineral Resource for which quantity and quality are estimated with a lower degree of certainty than for a Measured Mineral Resource. The sites used for inspection, sampling and measurement are too widely or inappropriately spaced to enable the material or its continuity to be defined or its grade throughout to be established.
Inferred Mineral Resource That part of a Mineral Resource for which tonnage, grade and mineral content can be estimated with a low level of confidence. It is inferred from geological evidence and assumed but not verified geological and/or grade continuity. It is based on information gathered through appropriate techniques from locations such as outcrops, trenches, pits, workings and drill holes that may be limited, or of uncertain quality and reliability.
Intrusion In geology, a mass of igneous rock that, while molten, was forced into or between other rocks.
Karoo Supergroup Stratigraphic sequence in Southern Africa containing coal deposits.
Land reclamation Land reclamation is the process of protecting, restoring, and possibly even improving the land before, during, and after surface mining. As coal is removed from one section of a surface mine, the land at another part is returned, regraded, and replanted. In the end, this means that the land is preserved, nature has been protected, water and soil are conserved, and the land can be turned into productive farmland, forests, and lakes.
Lignite Lignite is a type of coal that contains a lot of moisture and ash and breaks apart easily. Of the four types, lignite has the lowest carbon content and heating value. Also called brown coal, lignite is used mainly at electricity- generating plants.
Liquefaction The process of converting coal into a synthetic liquid fuel, similar in nature to crude oil and other refined products.
Longwall mining machine A longwall mining machine is a cutting machine that works along walls of coal up to 1,000 feet long to cut coal and drop it onto a conveyor belt.
Low Sulphur Coal Coal which has a sulphur content generally ranging from 0.1 per cent to 1.0 per cent. All western Canadian coal is low in sulphur.
Measured Mineral Resource That portion of a Mineral Resource for which the tonnage or volume is calculated from dimensions revealed in outcrops, pits, trenches, drill-holes or mine workings, supported where appropriate by other exploration techniques. The sites used for inspection, sampling and measurement are so spaced that the geological character continuity, grades and nature of the material are so well defines that the physical character, size, shape, quality and mineral content are established with a high degree of certainty.
Metallurgical Coal A term used to describe varieties of bituminous coal that are converted into coke for use in the steelmaking process.
Methane The most simple of the hydrocarbons formed naturally from the decay of vegetative matter, similar to that which formed coal. It is the principal component of natural gas and is a radiative gas.
Mineral Reserve The economically mineable material derived from a Measured and/or Indicated Mineral Resource. It is inclusive of diluting materials and allows for losses that may occur when the material is mined. Appropriate assessments, which may include feasibility studies, have been carried out, including consideration of, and modification by, realistically assumed mining, metallurgical, economic, marketing, legal, environmental, social and governmental factors. These assessments demonstrate at the time of reporting that extraction is reasonably justified.
Mineral Resource A concentration (or occurrence) of material of economic interest in or on the Earth's crust in such a form, quality, and quantity that there are reasonable and realistic prospects for eventual economic extraction. The location, quantity, grade, continuity and other geological characteristics of a Mineral Resource are known, estimated from specific geological knowledge, or interpreted from a well constrained and portrayed geological model.
Mining Licence A licence issued by the regulatory authority which governs the process of mining.
Overburden Designates material of any nature, consolidated or unconsolidated, that overlies an economic deposit. In surface mining operations, layers of rock and soil covering a coal seam are removed using large equipment and is either used for reclaiming mined areas or hauled to designated dumping areas.
Peat Peat is a soggy, sponge like material that forms from plants and trees after they die. Peat from plants and trees that died about 300 million years ago became buried and compressed under the earth's surface over a long period of time. Over millions of years and through the forces of heat and pressure, the compressed peat became coal.
Pillar A block of ore entirely surrounded by stoping, left intentionally for purposes for ground control or on account of low value.
Proved Resources Those quantities which geological and engineering information indicate with reasonable certainty can be recovered in the future from known deposits under existing economic and operating conditions.
Recoverable coal Recoverable coal refers to the amount of coal that can be removed. There are approximately 275 billion tons of recoverable coal reserves in the United States.
Resource A tonnage or volume of rock or mineralization or other material of intrinsic economic interest, the grades, limits and other appropriate characteristics of which are known with a specified degree of knowledge.
SAMREC Code South African Code for reporting of Mineral Resources and Mineral Reserves.
Scrubber Any of several forms of chemical/physical devices which operate to remove sulphur compounds formed as a result of fossil- fuel combustion. These devices normally combine the sulphur in gaseous emissions with another chemical medium to form inert compounds which can then be removed for disposal.
Seam A provincial term for a coal bearing layer.
Slurry A slurry is coal that is ground to a powder and mixed with water. In this form, coal can be pumped through a pipeline.
Slurry pipeline A slurry pipeline is a pipeline that transports coal that has been ground to a powder and mixed with water. A coal slurry pipeline connects a mine in Arizona with a power plant in Nevada.
Stoping The act of excavating rock, either above or below a level, in a series of steps. In its broadest sense rock stoping means the act of excavating rock by means of a series of horizontal, vertical or inclined workings in veins or large, irregular bodies of ore, or by rooms in flat deposits. It covers the breaking and removal of the rock from underground openings, except those driven for exploration and development.
Strike The course or bearing of the outcrop of an inclined bed, vein, or fault plane on a level surface; the direction of a horizontal line perpendicular to the direction of the dip.
Sub-bituminous A generally soft coal with a heating value between bituminous and lignite. It has low fixed carbon and high percentages of moisture and volatile material. Sub- bituminous coal is mainly used for generating electricity.
Surface mining Surface mining is used when coal is found close to the surface or on hillsides. It involves removing the topsoil and subsoil and setting them aside while the coal is removed.
Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act (SMCRA) The SMCRA, enacted in the late 1970s, is the first comprehensive national surface- mining law. Under the law, each state that establishes federally approved enforcement programs has the primary responsibility for enforcing mining regulations in the state. If a state lacks these programs, the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement in the U.S. Department of Interior implements the federal law.
Tectonic Forces Forces pertaining to, causing or resulting from structural deformation of the earth's crust.
Thermal Coal A term used to describe coal which is used primarily to generate heat. Also referred to as steam coal.
Ton An Imperial unit of weight equivalent to 2,000 pounds or 907.2 kg. This is also known as a "short ton".
Tonne A metric unit of weight equivalent to 1000 kg or 2,240 pounds. This is also known as a "metric ton" or "long ton".
Underground mining Underground mining is used to extract coal that is deep beneath the surface or in seams exposed on hillsides. It involves drilling two openings called shafts into the coal bed---one to transport miners and equipment and the other to bring coal to the surface.
Unit Train A train typically consisting of approximately 100 to 110 cars, which is dedicated to the transport of a single commodity such as coal.
Volatile Matter Matter that is driven off as gas or vapor when coal is heated to about 9500 C.
Vryheid Formation Stratigraphic sequence in Southern Africa containing coal deposits.
Washability Ability of the coal to be separated from waste fractions at a range of relative densities.
Washability analysis Analysis to determine the coal behaviour and separation characteristics for a range of relative densities.
Working capital Expenditures required to fund the resulting change in the debtors, creditors and stores position at a point in time.

Sources: Coal Association of Canada; American Coal Association; Homeland Energy Group

ABBREVIATIONS

AbbreviationDefinition
CTL Coal to Liquids
DME Department of Minerals and Energy (South Africa)
EMPR Environmental Management Program Report
IERIndependent Engineer's Report
SANAS South African National Accreditation System
 

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