The Premier Showcase of American Mining

Robert H. Freeman

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Robert H. Freeman’s pioneering endeavors started a revolution in U.S. underground coal mining and changed the nature of underground coal mining forever. Freeman had the foresight to see how the longwall system, developed for European mining conditions, could be adapted to U.S. applications. He recognized that modifications in the design and operation of longwall faces could result in significant increases in production, productivity, and safety in the U.S. In the 1950s as Chief Engineer for Eastern Associated Coal Corp., Freeman imported mechanized longwall systems into the metallurgical coal seams in southern West Virginia. He led the complete process, including feasibility, acquisition, installation, and operation of mechanized longwall mining equipment in North America. Under Freeman’s leadership, the potential for improved safety and lower cost, compared to room and pillar mining methods, were soon evident. Freeman’s resolve to adapt longwall to the U.S. mining industry resulted in significant changes in extracting coal, leading to the very highly efficient and safe systems found operating the world over today. Freeman's full biography will be available online after his official installment into the hall of fame September 14, 2019.






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