What does a Mine Cutting and Channeling Machine Operator do?

Operate machinery such as longwall shears, plows, and cutting machines to cut or channel along the face or seams of coal mines, stone quarries, or other mining surfaces to facilitate blasting, separating, or removing minerals or materials from mines or from the Earth's surface. Includes shale planers.

Jobs Roles

  • Position jacks, timbers, or roof supports, and install casings, to prevent cave-ins.
  • Reposition machines and move controls to make additional holes or cuts.
  • Cut entries between rooms and haulage ways.
  • Observe indicator lights and gauges, and listen to machine operation to detect binding or stoppage of tools or other equipment problems.
  • Replace worn or broken tools and machine bits and parts, using wrenches, pry bars, and other hand tools, and lubricate machines, using grease guns.
  • Press buttons to activate conveyor belts, and push or pull chain handles to regulate conveyor movement so that material can be moved or loaded into dinkey cars or dump trucks.
  • Move planer levers to control and adjust the movement of equipment, the speed, height, and depth of cuts, and to rotate swivel cutting booms.
  • Cut slots along working faces of coal, salt, or other non-metal deposits to facilitate blasting, by moving levers to start the machine, and to control the vertical reciprocating drills.
  • Signal that machine plow blades are properly positioned, using electronic buzzers or two-way radios.
  • Cut and move shale from open pits.
  • Drive mobile, truck-mounted, or track-mounted drilling or cutting machine in mines and quarries or on construction sites.
  • Move controls to start and position drill cutters or torches and advance tools into mines or quarry faces to complete horizontal or vertical cuts.
  • Advance plow blades through coal strata by remote control, according to electronic or radio signals from the tailer.
  • Determine locations, boundaries, and depths of holes or channels to be cut.
  • Signal crew members to adjust the speed of equipment to the rate of installation of roof supports, and to adjust the speed of conveyors to the volume of coal.
  • Remove debris such as loose shale from channels and planer travel areas.
  • Charge and set off explosives in blasting holes.
  • Signal truck drivers to position their vehicles for receiving shale from planer hoppers.
  • Monitor movement of shale along conveyors from hoppers to trucks or railcars.
  • Guide and assist crews in laying track for machines and resetting planer rails, supports, and blocking, using jacks, shovels, sledges, picks, and pinch bars.
  • Free jams in planer hoppers, using metal pinch bars.
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