M-Class Mining Installation a Team Effort

M-Class Mining Installation a Team Effort

Vision became reality when the collaborative efforts between Fenner Dunlop Conveyor Belting and Fenner Dunlop Conveyor Services saw the successful completion of the largest installation project undertaken as a team.  Following other successful installations of Fenner Dunlop conveyor belting in Cline Group operations, M-Class Mining, a division of Cline Group, partnered with Fenner Dunlop to provide conveyor belt and installation services for their new Southern Illinois longwall underground mining operation, Sugarcamp, located in Macedonia, Illinois.   

Longwall Panel Belt 

“The Cline Group has been loyal Fenner Dunlop customers for more than 25 years,” stated Doug Simmons, Fenner Dunlop Executive Vice-President of Direct Sales.   “When planning to build the new Sugarcamp Mine, Barry Hale, President of M-Class Mining, selected premium Fenner Dunlop conveyor belting and Fenner Dunlop Conveyor Services for the installation portion of the project.”

Sugarcamp mine is slated to have two longwalls, with the first coming online in 2011.  Both longwalls combined are projected to produce 15 million tons of coal per year. Development of the mainline conveyors and longwall panels are currently underway.  Slope conveyors, surface conveyors, prep plant, coal storage and the train loadout systems are complete and now operating.  All of the systems utilize Fenner Dunlop conveyor belting, installed and vulcanized by Fenner Dunlop Conveyor Services.  The two slope conveyors, as well as all surface conveyors, are equipped with Classic Conveyor belt cleaning systems.

M-Class Mining chose premium Fenner Dunlop UsFlex® belting for its surface applications, Dynaflight® steel cord w/Dynacord® breakers for the slope belts and MineFlex® D10 and D15 with Fire Boss® covers for all underground conveyors.  “Fenner Dunlop’s mining team ran conveyor calculations on Belt Wizard® to provide belt recommendations for the slopes, mainline conveyors, longwall development panels and longwall panels,” noted Rick Tankersley, Vice-President of Strategic Alliances.  “After working closely for several weeks, all recommendations were accepted and approved by M-Class Mining.”  FDA and FDCS were involved in initial planning meetings to discuss the smooth execution of the total installation and vulcanizing project, carefully working out challenges such as Sugarcamp’s slope belt system, which is not a typical slope configuration. 

The slope system was constructed in two flights – Slope A and Slope B.  Each belt, 84” ST4000 3/8” x 1/4”, was in excess of 7300’ installed.  Fenner Dunlop Conveyor Services had 28 field technicians, supervisors and equipment brought in from Blairsville, PA; Marion, IL; Farmington, NM and Delta, CO.  The crews worked around the clock seven days a week beginning August 23 and completed the job one day ahead of schedule on September 8.  Thirteen splices were done between slopes A and B with many of them vulcanized above ground first to reduce the number of splices and to expedite installation time underground.


Over a seven day period in early August, the FDCS Marion crew lead by General Manager, Dennis Tate, “lapped out” on the surface for Slope A and pre-vulcanized five rolls of steel cord belt, each 1600’ and weighing 113,000+ lbs each.  Additionally, Fenner Dunlop Australia’s new BMS rip detection system was installed on Slope A.  This unique new system does not require internal antennae in the conveyor belt. 

Slope B posed more challenges for the FDCS crews, as the belts could not be pre-spliced above ground.  To avoid short belt lengths of 500’ to 600’, the belts were shipped in 1100’ rolls which again reduced the number of splices and installation time underground.  To transport and handle the 1100’, 80,000 lb rolls underground, Fenner Dunlop Classic Conveyor, in conjunction with Allison Custom Fabrication, designed and built special turntables that allowed the oversize rolls to be laid on their sides, transported underground, then laid out onto the conveyor systems.  Each turntable weighed 22,000 lbs. FDA-developed EagleEye® rip detection system, with continuous monitoring capabilities, was installed on Slope B as well.

"Top skilled services personnel spent countless hours preparing, planning, and successfully executing the 84" belt installation phase to compliment and achieve the Cline Group vision to build a world class underground operation at M-Class Mining," stated John Blue, Sr. Vice-President, Service Operations. Tate emphasized that the entire job was a team effort.  “We had some of our best guys on the job and we not only finished on time, but we finished one day ahead of schedule,” noted Tate.  “Special recognition needs to be given to Barry Hale, Rick Tankersley, Russ Spangler, Bill Machak and Sohn Melvin for their leadership throughout the installation.” 

The Fenner Dunlop belting and service divisions continue to work as a team to deliver total conveyor system solutions for M-Class Mining as the Sugarcamp  mine moves toward its production goals.