Tour Leader, Ed Raines, describes the coal mining and coke producing town of Cokedale. The town supplied coke to the American Smelting and Refining Company (ASARCO) smelters. Piles of refuse from the coal cleaning plant are adjacent to Highway 12.
The ruins of the Cokedale Mine and coal cleaning plant are adjacent to the town. The structure of concrete columns in the foreground was part of the facility used to load the larry cars (small rail hopper cars) that transported the coal to the coke ovens located across the current highway.
The well preserved coke ovens had concrete fronts. The larry cars ran on a track on top of the ovens and charged the ovens from above.
Ed Raines points to the K/T Boundary in a road cut. The thin rock layer marks the end of the Cretaceous and start of the Tertiary Periods. This boundary marks the major extinction that killed the dinosaurs (65 Ma).
(Above) New Elk Coal Mine surface operations. Coal from the underground workings travels to the surface by conveyor belt. Run-of-mine coal can be placed on the coal stockpile in the foreground or conveyed to the preparation plant.
(Left) Ed Raines uses a road cut to give the MHAers a short course in the geology of the Southern Colorado Coal Field.
MHAers receive a briefing on the history and the mining and processing methods at the New Elk Mine.
|The coal conveyor emerges from the mine entry at the right.|
| A continuous miner (white) can be seen between the coal stockpile and the front end loader.|
At Pioneer Natural Resources the group saw a demonstration of the wellhead equipment used for the extraction and recovery of coal bed methane gas. The Raton Basin (CO, NM) has over 4,000 gas wells.
| MHAers tour the mobile equipment shop. Following the tour the MHAers were hosted for lunch by Pioneer.|
It was possible to get a close-up view on one of the large trucks that is used to service the Pioneer gas well sites.