Mine Operations Intern, Noel Short, has spent her summer at Prairie State shadowing various aspects of mine operations.
Some of the different groups Noel has learned from include the belts crew, mine managers, and safety and compliance. She also helped to complete a ventilation survey in her first few weeks. The goal of this survey was to assess the current ventilation in the mine and determine how far the ventilation could be extended before another fan is installed. She will be taking a ventilation class this upcoming semester, and she hopes this hands-on experience will help her in that class.
Noel is currently completing time studies on the continuous miner to determine how many ram cars are needed to efficiently operate at various distances from the feeder. She anticipates this study will be completed by the end of the summer.
Noel has been enjoying the opportunity to see the day-to-day operations of a mine. She said, “This helps me see how the content I learn in classes is actually used in a mine. I can also see things that I wouldn’t necessarily learn about, like how the continuous miner is powered by a cable that needs to be moved throughout the shift; this places constraints on where they’re able to cut in one shift. I think that’s been my favorite part—getting to see things that are part of the daily operations of a mine that aren’t explicitly covered in school.”
When asked what she would remember most, Noel said, “…just getting to talk to the miners about the industry and their experiences in coal mines over the years. A lot of the miners have worked in many different places, and some were able to tell me about the opening of Prairie State. I think I’ll also remember the opportunity to see different things, like the construction of the new shaft, the power plant, and the differences in this coal mine compared to others.”
This internship has solidified Noel’s decision to work in the mining industry. “I’ve enjoyed my time being underground and getting to see the challenges that come with an underground mine; this has helped me realize that I’m more interested in working in an underground mine over a surface mine after I graduate this year.” This fall, she will return to the University of Kentucky (UK) for her senior year studying mining engineering.