Longwall mining

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Longwall mining is a type of mining system whereby long sections of coal, up to about 700 feet, are removed and no pillars are left to support the mined-out areas. The working area is protected by a movable, powered roof support system. The caved area (gob) compacts and, after initial subsidence, supports the overlying strata.

Longwall mining is used where the coalbed is thick and generally flat, where surface subsidence is acceptable.