Welcome to the Alpine Blog

New mine scaling drum outperforms the competition!

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

Dec 19, 2016 2:26:47 PM

In a head-to-head trial the Alpine Rockwheel model D30M (mining version) hydraulic rock cutting attachment was found to cut smoother, stronger and more continuously when compared to a competitive unit the customer was testing.  This was an ideal comparison because the same excavator, operators, and rock types were involved, minimizing variables.  The smoother cutting was largely attributed to the drum shape and pattern of teeth on the cutting drums.  A higher density pick lacing with optimal spacing for limestone rock was developed by Alpine specifically for this type of mine scaling job.  In addition, Alpine made sure the drum speed and torque were optimized.  Other features of the D30M include:  heavy duty housing, square drive shaft, simple 2-hose system, integrated water sprays for dust suppression, and innovative valving to protect the hydraulic motor.  

There was less wear and tear on the excavator and the consumption of carbide teeth was signifiantly lower which offers signifiance savings and minimizes downtime.

Hydraulically driven rotary cutterhead attachments are rapidly gaining popularity in  underground drill-and-blast operations.  Mine manages tell us that excavator based rock cutting machines reduce scaling time by 50+% saving several hours per day.  In addition, there is less hand scaling and the need to re-scale an area because of failed inspections is practically eliminated.  


Alpine Rockwheels represent the most advanced and robust hydraulic rock grinding attachments on the markets.  Excavator mounting rock cutting machines are available for carriers of all sizes from 2 to 100+ tons.  Contact us at www.alpinecutters.com to see how these tools can improve efficiency in your operation.





Topics: Rockwheel, Mining

Alpine D10 Rockwheel Cutting Potash

Posted by Chip Kogelmann

Oct 6, 2016 4:23:26 PM

The Alpine D10 Rockwheel is the tool of choice for cutting potash.  Here you see the tool working in the Canadian potash mines for scaling, floor leveling, and trimming the back (roof) of the tunnel network.  This 40-hp (30-kW) cutter is part of the Rockwheel product line that ranges from 13 to 300-hp.

Topics: Tunneling, Rockwheel, Mining

EPA Proposes Further Restrictions to Shut Down Mine Before It Starts

Posted by Ryan Leech

Jul 29, 2014 7:00:00 AM


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) took further action on Friday to prevent construction and development of the Pebble Mine region in Alaska by attempting to place prohibitive restrictions on the future project. Pebble Mine is an initiative looking to capitalize on the Pebble deposits natural mineral reserve. The site of the deposit sits roughly 200 miles Southwest of Anchorage. The area is inhabited by a few thousand residents and hosts a large ore body that consists mostly of porphyry copper.

The driving factor behind the EPA's plan to block the mine's construction is to protect the ecosystem in Alaska's Bristol Bay watershed, a pristine body of water that supports, among other species, the world's largest run of sockeye salmon.

To this point, Bristol Bay remains untouched by many man-made pollutants that have devastated other bodies of water, which has allowed its ecosystem to thrive.

The EPA contends that the disposal of dredge and filler material that will result from mining activities will do irreparable damage to the wildlife in Bristol Bay.

This belief is one reason the EPA has taken such a strong position of opposition to any construction despite the fact that the Pebble Mine project hasn't even progressed to the point of submitting an initial project description for permitting.

Based off of their independent research, the EPA concluded that even a conservative projection of a small operation could cause too much irreversible damage to a rare and precious ecosystem.

They also have reason to believe that the mining project won't be a small one.

They cite a plan filed by the mine owner, Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd., to the U.S. Securities and Exchange commission that details a desire to excavate the largest open pit ever constructed in North America. According to the EPA, the depth would approach the depth of the Grand Canyon.

With a project of that size dredge and other material needed to be disposed by the mine would be significant.

Pebble Limited Partnership, the group in charge of developing the Pebble Mine project, disagrees with the EPA's position. They maintain that their first priority is to protect the Bristol Bay watershed and the surrounding environment. The fishing industry is a major source of provision for the local population and they would never do anything to jeopardize that.

They also disagree with the methodology of the EPA in this situation, believing that exercising preemptive action before an initial permits have been applied for is not only unfair, but beyond the scope of the federal agencies abilities.

The Pebble Limited Partnership filed suit against the agency in May to that effect.

They believe that they can arrive at a solution that allows the state and country to reap the benefits of a rich mineral deposit without negatively impacting the environment.

Time will tell if they get the opportunity to try.

Find out everything you need to know about rock grinding with a cutterhead

Topics: Mining

Major Carbon Tax Decision Has All Eyes on Australia

Posted by Ryan Leech

Jul 23, 2014 7:00:00 AM


Australia turned heads last week when a highly debated Senate vote abolished the controversial carbon laws that were implemented to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions.

The measure, which passed with a vote of 39-32, demonstrated the extreme difficulty lawmakers face when trying to successfully juggle economic practice, political reality, and environmental responsibility.  

Out of all the expected outcomes, the repeal of the carbon tax will first and foremost impact the Australian economy.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott touted the measure as the death of a toxic tax that would release a chokehold on $9 billion in the economy.

In addition to providing a significant stimulus to an economy that is dipping after its recent mining boom, the administration hopes that removing this obstacle will give its energy companies the ability to be more competitive internationally.

Ultimately, the majority in the Senate felt that the financial stimulus and the economic benefit of repeal were more beneficial than the environmental relief provided under the existing rule.

To say that some parties disagree would be an understatement.

No amount of statistical analysis or spin from the conservative government will make this anything but an uphill battle from a public relations standpoint.

It is one thing to be slow to adopt or implement, it is another matter entirely to repeal an existing law.

This reality makes it difficult for the Australian government to position this vote as anything but a step backwards.  

Their matters are even more complicated because Australia was one of the early adopters of carbon emission legislation. The early institution of the carbon tax established them as a model for other countries to follow concerning measures to reduce their carbon footprint.

Now, they have another claim as a first, albeit a more dubious one, the world’s first developed nation to deregulate carbon laws.

That unflattering distinction has several groups concerned that the repeal will do irreparable harm to the country’s international standing, possibly even making it a pariah on international efforts to see lasting change on the approach to climate change.

Australia’s handling of repealing this tax and what they plan on doing to meet sustainable energy goals and reducing carbon emissions going forward are certain to be hot topics at the global climate talks scheduled for next year in Paris.

Those opposed to repealing the tax the measure are worried that while it may increase prosperity in the short-term, future generations will pay for it, and history will be an unkind judge to the Prime Minister and this current Senate.

The proponents for repealing the tax have a different point of view. Being careful to say that they understand what current climate change research says and the need for reducing carbon emissions, they believe the previous tax was fundamentally misguided.

They claim to support the goal, but the execution was lacking and the only way to remedy the negative impacts of the misguided tax was to repeal it.

The sincerity of that opinion will be tested by whether emissions continue to drop or more appropriate regulations replace the repealed one.

The opinions are numerous following this landmark decision, but despite its magnitude, this vote is far from an isolated event. As more countries reach crossroads, they will look to past actions such as this one to guide their own decisions.   

It is possible that this step backwards could lead to two steps forward, but it is equally possible that it leads to a stumble and a fall.

Find out everything you need to know about rock grinding with a cutterhead


Topics: Mining

Will This New Coal Dust Rule Save Lives or Cost Jobs?

Posted by Ryan Leech

Jul 16, 2014 7:00:00 AM


While the EPA regulations announced in early June curbing carbon emissions grabbed most of the headlines, a second set of regulations that are just as significant are scheduled to come into effect in August.

This round of regulations comes from the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) and focuses on improving worker safety and wellness.

The new rules are detailed in 991 pages of documentation and are designed to finally put an end to black lung disease. Despite knowing the inherent dangers of coal dust for decades now, black lung disease still claims the lives of hundreds of miners every year.

Over 76,000 miners’ deaths have been connected to black lung disease since 1968.

With these numbers too large to ignore, improvement and changes were a long time coming. The announcement marked the first significant change to coal-dust regulations in over 30 years.

Some of the major points in the regulations include cutting the concentration limits for coal dust exposure from 2 milligrams down to 1.5 milligrams, requiring workers to wear real-time dust monitors, and revamping sampling procedure by sampling more often and eliminating existing sampling loopholes.

The reactions to the new regulations have been mixed to say the least.

Health advocates and activists applaud the move, but question whether more could have been done.

In the original draft that MSHA proposed in October 2010, the concentration limits were to be cut all the way down to 1 milligram. This number was consistent with what the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health has recommended from as far back as 1995.

With a limit of 1.5 milligrams dust limit, research projects that there will still be 50 cases of black lung per 1,000 workers, and 147 cases of emphysema per 1,000 workers.

While disappointed that the new rule didn’t go as far as it could have, they were still pleased to see action taken.

Mine owners and corporations have their own list of complaints. The first major complaint is that the prohibitive cost increase of implementing these new measures is too much to overcome.

 The second area of contention, is that the MSHA is forcing a widespread mandate on a localized issue that only occurs in select areas. They believe a more direct approach to problem areas would be more beneficial than forcing costly regulations on the whole industry.

Finally, they contest that the MSHA has ignored research that points to proven, yet much more economically feasible alternatives, than the route they decided to take.

This has resulted in immediate action, and several state coal associations have already gone to the court system seeking appeals to overturn the new rules.

What may be most surprising is that there is even a noticeable amount of dissension from some coal miners themselves, the very people these regulations are in place to protect.

While the MSHA has its priorities in the right place, some disagree with its approach to the issue.

They believe that the attention should be on preventing coal dust inhalation, instead of monitoring its presence.

Instead of allocating time and resources on sampling, they would prefer to see money invested in improving respirators and helmets that force airflow down the face and keep dust out of their lungs.

By focusing on monitoring instead of prevention, they worry that jobs will be lost as companies seek to maintain profit margins.

With the measures projected to start going into effect in August, and the expectation that all mines will be fully compliant within two years, this has just as much influence over the future of the mining industry as the EPA’s new carbon regulations. How companies react, and whether any adjustments are made to the implementation of these new rules will determine whether this is an historic measure that will finally put an end to black lung disease, or more red-tape for businesses to work around.

Find out everything you need to know about rock grinding with a cutterhead


Topics: Mining

India Plans to Expedite New Coal Mining and Steel Projects

Posted by Ryan Leech

Jul 2, 2014 7:00:00 AM

India_Plans_to_Expedite_New_Coal_Mining_and_Steel_ProjectsIndia has an energy problem. New Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the new government are looking to provide solutions. Elected to office in May, Modi ran on a promise to revitalize a struggling economy. He unseated his opponents in a landslide as his supporters showed up in mass to see if he could live up to the promise.

In his first couple months on the job, Modi is trying to make the Indian government more decisive and promote more efficient action.

One of his most important priorities is reorganizing the country’s struggling energy environment.

There are several complex components involved in the plan to launch a national energy policy that will positively impact national economic growth. The two biggest current obstacles involve developing the necessary infrastructure to improve energy production and increasing capacity.

Taking major steps in these two areas would go a long way to meeting the lofty goals espoused in a recent speech this month by president Pranab Mukherjee, in which he claimed that every family in India would have access to electricity by 2022.

That would be a major improvement over the current situation.

Many parts of India that have electricity experience serious issues with reliability. This is a major issue for business that rely heavily on electricity to help them conduct their operations.

Blackouts are a better fate than the reality that exists for the between 300 million and 400 million people who do not have access to electricity at all.

This lack of energy occurs despite a large wealth of natural resources, especially coal, that are found in India.

In a departure from the previous political administration, this administration is looking to expedite decisions on more than 6,000 pending mining concession applications that are registered with various state governments.

This expedited process was made possible by ensuring the environment ministry would no longer act as a roadblock in matters of energy projects.

A meeting between three committees, the environment and forests, coal, and power and steel, that took place on Tuesday was used to decide the need for concrete policy measures that would remove some of the red tape that certain projects got bogged down by, and the necessity to fast track the clearance process.

Even without discussing specifics about what will need to happen, ministry officials left the meeting encouraged that projects to increase much needed coal and steel production could be facilitated within the boundaries of the law.

They face the same difficulty many companies face in trying to protect the enviornment, and provide their citizens the best electricy available.

With the removal of several layers of red tape and what appeared to be immovable road blocks, there could be major changes coming to the coal mining industry in India.

Until new mine projects are approved, existing mines have been asked to increase production and enhance the supply of coal.

The country is also starting to look into possible Private-Public Partnerships.

The changes in policy have to turn into changes in practice before the energy situation improves in India, but if they continue to push for change at this pace, the mining landscape could change drastically in a short period of time.

Find out everything you need to know about rock grinding with a cutterhead


Topics: Mining

States Sift Through Impact of New EPA Carbon Emission Guidelines

Posted by Ryan Leech

Jun 27, 2014 9:30:00 AM

States_Sift_Through_Impact_of_New_EPA_Carbon_Emission_GuidelinesWith the EPA officially making a formal statement and releasing their new carbon emission regulations in early June, companies that operate in the energy production industry have a clearer picture of the requirements, and how that will impact their businesses.

The purpose of the new proposed emission guidelines are designed for states to follow in developing plans to address  greenhouse gas emissions from existing fossil fuel-fired electric generating units.

Outlined in the drafted guidelines are state-specific rate-based goals for carbon dioxide emissions from the power sector, as well as specific steps for states to follow in developing their plans to reach those levels.

The goal of the directive is to cut 30% of carbon emissions by 2030.

Given the magnitude of the guidelines, there are several areas of direct and indirect impact that people are evaluating in the days after the announcement.

One area of the announcement of that is receiving a lot of attention is the state-by-state approach that was taken in creating targets.

Each state was given an objective to achieve in their emission rate, which is expressed as the weight of carbon dioxide that a state’s existing power plants are allowed to emit for every megawatt hour of electricity they generate.

The thought process behind taking a state-by-state approach was to avoid crippling states that are heavily dependent on coal power.

This article by Ed Crooks in the Financial Times takes a closer look at how emission rate goals vary between different states and some of the goals they have to reach. Time will be needed to see if the administration accurately assessed the capabilities of each state and their ability to reduce carbon emission rates.

One of the biggest reveals of the EPA’s new guidelines, which was hinted at a couple days before the announcement, was that there would not be a requirement for natural gas plants to use carbon capture and storage technology.

There are relatively few plants equipped with carbon capture technology and they are much more expensive to build and maintain than traditional plants. If there would have been a mandate to include carbon capture, power companies could have faced billions in construction costs to achieve compliance.

Without these additional costs, many of the feared employment cuts and price increases passed on to consumers may not materialize.

One last major area of impact is the political impact of the new guidelines. On a smaller scale, it has become an issue domestically with democrats in coal-rich states distancing themselves from the White House and Republicans trying to gain political capital from the move.

More importantly, since reducing our carbon emissions will only make a minor dent in the global carbon emissions that are released annually, many see this move as an attempt for President Obama to gain ammunition to affect change in India and China.

If other major players in the global energy market implement similar guidelines, then that would have a major impact on the mining and energy industry worldwide.

We’ll be closely following these developments as the consequences of the EPA guidelines become clearer over time.

Find out everything you need to know about rock grinding with a cutterhead  


Topics: Mining, Regulations

EPA Plans to Announce New Carbon Emission Regulations

Posted by Ryan Leech

Jun 6, 2014 7:30:00 AM

epa-plans-to-announce-new-carbon-emission-regulationsAnnouncements from the White House concerning tighter restriction on fresh carbon emission which could impact the mining sector are anticipated this week.

In addition to the carbon emission cuts, the policy is rumored to provide states the benefit of using cap-and-trade regulations to transfer the cost of pollution to the coal companies that generate them.

The move is expected to be the most aggressive action in US President Barack Obama’s climate change policy. The White House and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are tasked with trying to curb the environmental impact of greenhouse gas emissions without causing irreparable damage to the economy.

The upcoming announcement will have different impacts on different states. Some states, such as California, already have similar legislation in place, while other states such as West Virginia could see dramatic changes in their companies and several plant retirements.

According to mining.com “Experts believe that West Virginia will be the hardest hit by the new measures. The state, one of the US’s three poorest by household income, sits at the heart of coal country. Official figures also show the state gets 95% of its power from the fossil fuel.”

The goal of the legislation is to greatly decrease the percentage of CO2 emissions. Officials expect the decreased levels of emissions to be between 20% and 25%.

The actual piece of legislation will be quite sizeable. While many particulars of the bill are already known, there are aspects of the 3,000 page rule that people in the coal and mining industry are interested to see when the announcement is made on June 2nd.

In an article by Power Source spokeswoman for First Energy Generation, an Akron-based energy company that has plants in Pennsylvania discussed the interest in finding out the particular details.

“There are some elements of the rule we hope to see when it comes out,” Ms. Walton said. “We think the state should be allowed flexibility when reducing emissions, such as allowing plant retirements and allowing states to take credit for past emission reduction programs.”

The balance between reducing emissions and the understanding that coal will still play a crucial role in the country’s future energy production make this announcement one that every energy company will be looking forward to hearing.

Once the details are finally announced, each state and company will have to carefully consider their options to continue profitable production while complying with the new regulations.

Find out everything you need to know about rock grinding with a cutterhead


Topics: Mining

About this blog

This blog is a resource for research, how-to's, and general news regarding rock grinders, transverse cutter heads, roadheaders, and alternatives to hydraulic hammers. 

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