August 03, 2009

Annual mining event returns to Southern Illinois

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A faculty member in Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Department of Mining and Mineral Resources is organizing this year’s Illinois Mining Institute’s annual meeting, which will take place in Southern Illinois in August.

Professor Yoginder “Paul” Chugh is secretary-treasurer of the group, which will hold its meeting Aug. 10-11 at Rend Lake College in Ina. The meeting will include mining exhibits, a golf tourney, technical programs and a rescue contest and demonstration sponsored by the Illinois Mine Rescue Association. The occasion also will mark the grand opening of the new Coal Mine Training Center at Rend Lake College.

Media Advisory

Reporters, photographers and news crews are welcome to attend the Illinois Mining Institute’s annual meeting. For more information or to arrange interviews during the conference, contact Nancy Cline at or Professor Yoginder “Paul” Chugh at

Chugh said he and many others are happy to have the IMI’s annual meeting in Southern Illinois after holding it the last 10 years in Springfield.

“Thismove has been the biggest challenge for the institute over thepast 10 years and I sweateda lot in the beginning,” Chugh said. “I commend the commitment ofthose from IMI, Rend Lake College, and IMRA who made not only this happen but also assisted withdeveloping an exceptional model program for our industry. Most industry professionalssay it is good to be home.”

The IMI golf tournament starts at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 10 at Rend Lake Gold Course and Chugh said at least 30 teams will play. IMI will hold a reception for conference participants at 6 p.m. at the County Line Shelter (north of Rend Lake Resort) with food, beer and music provided by a DJ.

The two-part technical program held during the event will focus on ground control issues in the Illinois Coal Basin and also will feature four papers on miner training, equipment safety and seismic risk.

A mine rescue team competition and demonstration is set to start at 7 a.m. Aug. 11 at Rend Lake College’s soccer field. Chugh said 14 teams have signed up so far and officials expect more to register as the event draws near. The contest requires teams to successfully complete a mock disaster drill at a coal mine, with scenarios including bad roofs, flooding, ventilation and miner rescue and recovery.

“Minerescue teams are the best-trained, most courageous rescue units in the world,” said Don McBride, of the Illinois Office of Mines and Minerals. “They utilize high-tech equipment, and utilize highly complex, federally mandated rules and procedures in the most dangerous underground environments imaginable. We should all be proud of them.”

Exhibitors for the trade show will open soon after the rescue competition starts, inside the college’s gymnasium and around the grounds. Exhibitors include vendors from across the Midwest.

Rend Lake College also will officially unveil its new Coal Mine Training Center at 10 a.m. Aug. 11. Located on the campus’ west side, the new education facility houses simulated coal mines, a large open shop area, classrooms and other amenities. The IMI assisted the college in soliciting input from industry leaders on the type of training miners need in today’s environment, Chugh said, as well as helping secure equipment donations for the center from industry.

Officials ask that those interested in touring the new facility call the RLC Foundation at 618/437-5321, Ext. 1214; or email to

The event culminates with a closing reception at 7 p.m. Aug. 11 at Rend Lake Resort, where officials will presents awards to participants. Industry leaders also will give updates on coal-related activities in the Illinois Basin to the more than 600 expected to attend.

“The Illinois Mining Institute is pleased to be holding our annual conference at Rend Lake College in conjunction with grand opening of their new coal mine training center,” said Tom Benner of Peabody Energy and president of the IMI. “It is a fitting reflection of the resurgence we have experienced in Southern Illinois coalfields over the last few years.”

Rend Lake College President Charley Holstein said the college is pleased to play host to the event.

“We are honored the IMI and IMRA are bringing their annual functions to our campus,” Holstein said. “With several mines coming online with permits and located within driving distance from our campus, we feel RLC is a great location at the heart of Illinois coal.”

For more information, contact Nancy Cline at the IMI at 618/536-6631 or

Here is the complete schedule:

Monday, Aug. 10

• 9 a.m.-5 p.m. -- Registration, vendor setup, mine rescue setup

• 4 p.m. --Technical Session 1 (General) at Rend Lake Resort and Conference Center

“Mine-Intern Program -- A Success Story,” Kim Underwood

“Safety is a continuing journey, not a final destination,” Vicky Cantrell, Caterpillar Inc.

“What you should know about seismic risk in the Midwestern United States?” Mark Bryan, Ameren-CIPS

Tuesday, Aug. 11

• 7 a.m. -- Mine rescue competition (all day)

• 7:30 a.m.- 5 p.m. -- Registration

• 8 a.m.-10 p.m. -- Exhibits open

• 10 a.m. - Noon -- RLC Coal Mine Training Center Grand Opening and Open House

• 10 a.m.- noon IMI Technical Program Session II -- Coal Mine, Room Science 110, Rend Lake College

Ground Control I -- Geology and Mine Design, Chair: Lester Tupper, Strata Products, Inc.

“Geology of Pennsylvanian Channels and Gray Shales and Their Potential for Roof Problems,” Scott Elrick, Illinois State Geological Survey

“Coal Geology and Roof Control,” Marvin Thompson, American Coal Galatia Mine, Galatia, Ill.

“Recent Research on Weak Floor Stability in the Illinois Basin Underground Coal Mines,” Murali Gadde, Peabody Energy Company, St. Louis

“How do falls occur in weak roof areas: Some observations,” Greg Molinda, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Pittsburgh, Pa.

“An Introduction to Coal Mine Analysis and LaModel and Stability Mapping,” Keith Heasley, West Virginia University, Morgantown, W. Va.

• 2-4 p.m.

IMI Technical Program - Session III, Room Science 110, Rend Lake College

“Ground Control II” (Primary and Secondary Supports), Chair: Mike Caldwell, Springfield Coal Co.

“Identifying Geologic Hazards for Roof Control,” Mark Odum and Paul Tyrna, Roof Control Specialist, MSHA District 8 Office, Vincennes, Ind.

“Artificial Supports Strategies and Mapping,” Payl Tyrna, MSHA Technical Support, Pittsburgh Pa.

“Evaluation of a Tailgate Standing Support in the Illinois Coal Basin,” Dennis Dolinar and Tom Borczak, National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Pittsburgh, Pa.

“Primary and Secondary Support Strategies in Illinois Basin Coal Mines: A Panel Discussion,” John Stankus, Keystone Mining Services, Scott Shapkoff, Excel Mining, and Tom Blevins, DSI Mining.

“Updating on New Ground Control Technology,” John Stankus.

“Longwall Tailgate Entry Support System,” Scott Shapkoff.

“DSI, Local Presence -- Global Competence,” Tom Blevins.

Summary Comments -- Y. Paul Chugh

• 7-9 p.m. -- IMI Gala Reception (Registration Badge Required to Enter)

• 7:30 p.m. -- Business Meeting and Awards