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Technical | Under-ground | Districts  >  Deep Hard

Section under development

Following the deepening of the South shaft it was decided to work the coal in the Deep Hard seam and an inset was created at this level.  The pit bottom was opened out and main roadways driven. Over the next few years,  longwall faces were opened on the north, south-west and south-east sides of the shaft pillar. These faces were hand worked on the longwall stall system and were oriented half end-on to the NW - SE strike of the cleat.  The Deep Hard seam was worked until June 1927 when activity was suspended due to the economic climate.  After that, the only person working in the Deep Hard apart from an official making a daily inspection was a pump attendant in the pit bottom.

DH workings 1930

Deep Hard seam circa 1930

Work resumed in the Deep Hard after 1945, when new main roads were driven through the shaft pillar on the south-west  side of the pit bottom and the main haulage systems reorganised.  Two double-panel longwall faces were developed - A panel and B panel, which were to be taken out to the north-west and south-east boundaries respectively. 

B panel commenced first, sometime around 1946, with the coal machine-undercut, shot-fired and hand-filled onto bottom-loading face conveyors.  These discharged onto a main-gate conveyor which carried the coal to a tub loading point  located at the shaft-pillar boundary.  The tubs were then transported to and from the pit-bottom by endless rope haulage systems.

A small fault existed on the left side of A panel when it was first developed and the width on that side was also restricted by the old 1927 workings. As these were passed, however, the face was gradually extended to full width.  On this panel the coal was also machine-undercut and shot-fired, but, unlike B panel, it was machine loaded onto the face conveyors by Huwood ML1 loaders.

As B panel headed towards the boundary, a third power-loader face, C panel, was opened out alongside it.  By the end of the 1940s B panel had reached the boundary and two new faces were being developed off the LH supply gates of  A and B panels.

DH workings 1950 -m

Deep Hard seam circa 1950

Following nationalisation in 1947, it was decided that a major modernisation of the South pit top and bottom would be undertaken. This work commenced around 1950 and was completed in 1957.  During this time further face development continued off of the supply gates of A, B and C panels, these faces being taken out to the two main faults on the south-west and south-east sides.

DH workings 1955

Deep Hard seam and main faults circa 1955 

Once the modernisation of the South pit had been completed, face development focused on the north side, beyond the fault on the north-east side.  Most of these faces were operated using shearer loaders mounted on armoured face conveyors. Initially, roof support was by hydraulic props and bars but in the mid 1960s, hydraulic chocks were introduced 

DH workings 1965 -m

Deep Hard seam and main faults circa 1965 

By the end of 1960s production had ceased on the north side in the Deep Hard seam and work concentrated on the Piper. The Piper coal was not of the same quality as the Deep Hard, however, The two seams were known to converge further to the south-east and after 400s, the Piper main face, had passed beyond the end of the old B side workings, it was decided to re-enter the Deep Hard. Short drifts were driven up into it from the Piper workings and new faces developed.

DH workings 1975 -m

Deep Hard seam and main faults circa 1975 

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