Glossary of Selected Coal Mining Terms
Assigned reserves. Coal which has been committed by the coal company to operating mine shafts, mining equipment, and plant facilities, and all coal which has been leased by the company to others.
Bituminous coal. The most common type of coal with moisture content less than 20% by weight and heating value of 10,500 to 14,000 Btu per pound. It is dense and black and often has well-defined bands of bright and dull material.
Btu. (British Thermal Unit). A measure of the energy required to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree Fahrenheit.
Central Appalachia. Coal producing states and regions of eastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, western Virginia and southern West Virginia.
Coal seam. Coal deposits occur in layers. Each layer is called a "seam."
Coal washing. The process of removing impurities, such as ash and sulfur based compounds, from coal.
Compliance coal. Coal which, when burned, emits 1.2 pounds or less of sulfur dioxide per million Btu, which is equivalent to .72% sulfur per pound of 12,000 Btu coal. Compliance coal requires no mixing with other coals or use of sulfur dioxide reduction technologies by generators of electricity to comply with the requirements of the federal Clean Air Act.
Continuous miner. A machine used in underground mining to cut coal from the seam and load it onto conveyors or into shuttle cars in a continuous operation.
Continuous mining. One of two major underground mining methods now used in the United States. This process utilizes a continuous miner. The continuous miner removes or "cuts" the coal from the seam. The loosened coal then falls on a conveyor for removal to a shuttle car or larger conveyor belt system.
Deep mine. An underground coal mine.
Dozer and front-end loader mining. An open-cast method of mining that uses large dozers together with trucks and loaders to remove overburden, which is used to backfill pits after coal removal.
Ferro-silicon. An alloy of iron and silicon used in the production of carbon steel.
Force majeure. An event that may prevent the company from conducting its mining operations as a result of in whole or in part by: Acts of God, wars, riots, fires, explosions, breakdowns or accidents; strikes, lockouts or other labor difficulties; lack or shortages of labor, materials, utilities, energy sources, compliance with governmental rules, regulations or other governmental requirements; any other like causes.
High vol met coal. Coal that averages approximately 35% volatile matter. Volatile matter refers to a constituent that becomes gaseous when heated to certain temperatures.
Highwall miner. An auger-like apparatus that drives parallel rectangular entries to 1,000 feet into the coal seam.
Industrial coal. Coal used by industrial steam boilers to produce electricity or process steam. It generally is lower in Btu heat content and higher in volatile matter than metallurgical coal.
Long-term contracts. Contracts with terms of one year or longer.
Low ash fusion. Coal that when burned typically produces ash that has a melting point below 2,450 degrees Fahrenheit.
Low sulfur coal. Coal which, when burned, emits 1.6 pounds or less of sulfur dioxide per million Btus.
Metallurgical coal. The various grades of coal suitable for carbonization to make coke for steel manufacture. Also known as "met" coal, it possesses four important qualities: volatility, which affects coke yield; the level of impurities, which affects coke quality; composition, which affects coke strength; and basic characteristics, which affect coke oven safety. Met coal has a particularly high Btu, but low ash content.
Overburden. Layers of earth and rock covering a coal seam. In surface mining operations, overburden is removed prior to coal extraction.
Overburden ratio. The amount of overburden commonly stated in cubic yards that must be removed to excavate one ton of coal.
Pillar. An area of coal left to support the overlying strata in a mine; sometimes left permanently to support surface structures.
Pneumoconiosis. A lung disease caused by long-continued inhalation of mineral or metallic dust.
Preparation plant. Usually located on a mine site, although one plant may serve several mines. A preparation plant is a facility for crushing, sizing and washing coal to prepare it for use by a particular customer. The washing process has the added benefit of removing some of the coal's sulfur content.
Probable (Indicated) reserves. Reserves for which quantity and grade and/or quality are computed from information similar to that used for proven reserves, but the sites for inspection, sampling and measurement are farther apart; therefore, the degree of assurance, although lower than that for proven reserves, is high enough to assume continuity between points of observation.
Proven (Measured) reserves. Reserves for which (a) quantity is computed from dimensions revealed in outcrops, trenches, workings or drill holes; grade and/or quality are computed from the results of detailed sampling and (b) the sites for inspection, sampling and measurement are spaced so closely and the geologic character is so well defined that size, shape, depth and mineral content of reserves are well established.
Pulverized coal injection (PCI). A system whereby coal is pulverized and injected into blast furnaces in the production of steel and/or steel products.
Reclamation. The process of restoring land and the environment to their approximate original state following mining >activities. The process commonly includes "recontouring" or reshaping the land to its approximate original appearance, restoring topsoil and planting native grass and ground covers. Reclamation operations are usually underway before the mining of a particular site is completed. Reclamation is closely regulated by both state and federal law.
Recoverable reserves. The amount of proven and probable reserves that can actually be recovered from the reserve base taking into account all mining and preparation losses involved in producing a saleable product using existing methods and under current law.
Reserves. That part of a mineral deposit which could be economically and legally extracted or produced at the time of the reserve determination.
Resource (Non-reserve coal deposit). A coal-bearing body that does not qualify as a commercially viable coal reserve. Resources may be classified as such by either limited property control, geologic limitations, insufficient exploration or other limitations. In the future, it is possible that portions of the resource could be re-classified as reserve if those limitations are removed or mitigated by: improving market conditions, additional property control, favorable results of exploration, advances in technology, etc.
Roof. The stratum of rock or other mineral above a coal seam; the overhead surface of a coal working place. Same as "top."
Room and pillar mining. In the underground room and pillar method of mining, continuous mining machines cut three to nine entries into the coal bed and connect them by driving crosscuts, leaving a series of rectangular pillars, or columns of coal to help support the mine roof and control the flow of air. As mining advances, a grid-like pattern of entries and pillars is formed. Additional coal may be recovered from the pillars as this panel of coal is retreated.
Spot market. Sales of coal under an agreement for shipments over a period of one year or less.
Steam coal. Coal used by power plants and industrial steam boilers to produce electricity or process steam. It generally is lower in Btu heat content and higher in volatile matter than metallurgical coal.
Sulfur. One of the elements present in varying quantities in coal that contributes to environmental degradation when coal is burned. Sulfur dioxide is produced as a gaseous by-product of coal combustion.
Sulfur content. Coal is commonly described by its sulfur content due to the importance of sulfur in environmental regulations. "Low sulfur" coal has a variety of definitions but is typically used to describe coal consisting of 1.0% or less sulfur. A majority of TECO Coal's Central Appalachian reserves are of low sulfur grades.
Surface mine. A mine in which the coal lies near the surface and can be extracted by removing overburden.
Synthetic fuel (Synfuel). A solid fuel that is produced by mixing coal and/or coal waste with various additives, causing a chemical change to occur within the original product.
Tipple. A structure that facilitates the loading of coal into rail cars.
Tons. A "short" or net ton is equal to 2,000 pounds. A "long" or British ton is 2,240 pounds; a "metric" tonne is approximately 2,205 pounds. The short ton is the unit of measure referred to in this Form 10-K.
Unassigned reserves. Coal which has not been committed, and which would require new mineshafts, mining equipment, or plant facilities before operations could begin in the property.
Underground mine. Also known as a "deep" mine. Usually located several hundred feet below the earth's surface, an underground mine's coal is removed mechanically and transferred by shuttle car or conveyor to the surface.
Unit train. A train of a specified number of cars carrying only coal. A typical unit train can carry at least 10,000 tons of coal in a single shipment.
Utility coal. Coal used by power plants to produce electricity or process steam. It generally is lower in Btu heat content and higher in volatile matter than metallurgical coal.