KUSHIRO Coal Mine, the only underground coal mine left in Japan

                                          IRUNIV 2013/08/15

 KUSHIRO coal mine in Kushiro, Hokkaido is the only coal mine company of underground mining left in Japan. It continues mining good quality coals (subbituminous coals) and will soon be 100 years since the former Taiheiyo coal mine (1920~). Kushiro coal mine company has inherited business since the end of December, 2001 until now. All the 52 stockholders of Kushiro coal mine are the companies in Kushiro city. It just has been existing as a company which serves for Kushiro people.

 Taiheiyo coal mine had mined coals 2,000,000-2,200,000 tonne per year for 50 years. At the time Kushiro had the 2nd largest production after the Mitsui Miike Coal Mine (*Kushiro was the top in the production of single pithead). Today Kushiro yearly produces 500,000-600,000 tonne of coals, and does importing around 100,000 tonne of coals. There was an opportunity to enter the digging site of the Kushiro coal mine.

 集合写真Today Kushiro coal mine has been mining the submarine coals which exist with a 5-6° slant from Kushiro city toward the Pacific coast. It is said that these coals were originally formed by laminating marine plants, which were 45 million years ago in the Cenozoic era of the Tertiary period called Harutori coal measures.

 The writer went down to the ancient good old coal mine site by an electric trolley train (cable car) until the coal mine at 250m underground (where is already the bottom of the sea). The temperature of the environment there was around 17℃ which could be said cool even in this hot summer.

 A machine at the digging site called continuous miner kept on driving a road. It dug 10 tonne of the stones mixed coals in only 5 minutes. It makes a road by setting the custom-made iron arch while driving.

The digging situation=from the pamphlet The continuous miner

The Kushiro's coals of repute
 We used to say the coal as the black diamond, but that naming was because coal can be changed to a big money. In actuality, when I looked at the coals which were just dug on the site, the coals shone brilliantly, and I felt it is appropriate to call it "the black diamond". And when I had it in my hand, the Kushiro's coals were unexpectedly light, so it is known in the industry for its extremely high quality coals.

COALS写真 It is used as the common coal for generating, although the calorific value of 6100Kcal/kg can't be ignored, but owing to its little sulfur content of 0.2% - 0.3%, it is esteemed as the low-pollution coal in electric power companies, paper manufacturers, and sugar refinery companies of the whole Japan. The coal not only has a reputation for its good kindling and its efficiency, but also can be used as good fly ash, those are the reasons why it is so named "The Kushiro's coals of repute". The Kushiro's high quality coals are attracting interest at home and abroad, as the coal energy is being reevaluated nowadays.

coals The Kushiro's coals have made the bottom of the sea as the digging site from around 1950 since the Taiheiyo coal mine era. The recoverable reserves at the bottom of the sea totaled 2,800 million tonne. It is said that there are also 2 billion tonne of reserve of coals, and here at Kushiro have existed the coals for approximately 26 years of the Japanese coals demand (180 million tonne/year).

 At first, since the establishment of KUSHIRO coal mine at the end of 2001, the collecting cooperation only for five years was promised by the electric power companies. However, the resources boomed at that moment and a sudden rise in the resources energy price revived The Kushiro's coals, and in fact the demand also increased. Today due to upholded non-nuclear power, so the demand of coals has increased more. The existence of the Kushiro coal mine which is the only Japanese underground coal mine is extremely important, simply because it is Japan who is importing the coal of 180 million tonne/year.

 Japan has advanced the stable securement of coal resources earlier than rare metal or rare earth. In order to secure the imported coals, we must hand down Japanese superior mining and safety techniques to coal companies overseas, and the Kushiro coal mine's employees have carried out technical training to proceed to the coal mining countries (dispatcher training). Besides, they have been accepting the overseas trainees, and there are 150 trainees (including both Chinese and Vietnamese) that will come to Kushiro coal mine this year, they will receive the training of mining technology and safety techniques with a dormitory living (transferee training).

 Today the industrial technology that has supported Japan is made to help making the industrial base of the developing countries. It will be the most productive resources policy nationally.
(IRuniverse Susan)

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