Coal Mining in Illinois
Strip Mining
 
 

Surface mining, commonly referred to as strip mining, is a process of scooping coal after the rock and soil above the coal seam has been removed.  Very large specialized equipment is used in this operation.  The stripping shovel, often called a mucker, is used to remove rock and soil on top of the coal.  The dragline is used to move the material back on the pile, creating more room for the mucker to dump its load.  The loading shovel located on top of the scoops up the coal and loads it into trucks or rail cars. The coal is then hauled to another area of the operation for cleaning, sorting, and distribution.

 
Source:
Photographic History of Coal Mining Practices in Illinois
C. Chenoweth, Alan R. Myers, and Jennifer M. Obrad
Circular 572
Illinois Department of Natural Resources, 2008