INA, Ill. - Joy Mining Machinery delivered a gift to Rend Lake College's Coal Mine Training Center last week that will provide a major training advantage for students enrolled in the college's coal mining technology degree program.
A continuous miner, estimated at more than $1 million new and weighing in at a whopping 40 tons, slowly made its way down Interstate 57 from Mt. Vernon and into its new home on the RLC Main Campus in Ina on Friday. College officials were there with open arms to accept this major gift from Joy Mining - the global leader in the development, manufacture, distribution and service of underground mining machinery.
"I want to thank Joy Mining Machinery for their generous donation," said RLC President Charley D. Holstein. "The training impact they are making on our degree and certificate programs in coal mining technology is exceptional. This equipment is at the center of what will make RLC coal mining graduates the region's best. Each gesture of industry support through their contributions like this provides more value to our program and strengthens our commitment to each student, as well as our commitment to the community that RLC will continue to be an active leader in regional development."
At a coal mine, a continuous miner constantly extracts coal while it loads it. The large vehicle is operated by remote and is used underground to cut and remove coal from a coalface with the aid of a spiked, rotating head.
"We are going to utilize it for machine operations," said RLC Mining Instructor Dave Colombo. "We'll also be using it as a maintenance tool to teach students how to service the machine, how to repair it and how it actually functions."
The JOY 14CM continuous miner product line has been developed to meet the high productivity requirements of today's underground mining industry, according to Joy Mining Machinery's website at www.joy.com. Providing the ideal combination of cutting power, proven components and reliability for lower to mid-seam applications in a variety of materials, the 14CM is built to withstand rigorous conditions, the site states.
During grand opening ceremonies last month for the Coal Mine Training Center, Holstein said he and RLC Foundation CEO Pat Kern worked for about a year on securing equipment contributions for the program. As they researched big ticket equipment, like the continuous miner, they began to realize how important contributions would become in keeping costs down.
"This piece of equipment ... is monumental to the program," Holstein said. "It's going to jump start the program ... and provides much-needed, hands-on training. It allows us to move grant funding to other areas of need for the program."
Billy Kirkpatrick, Joy Mining Machinery's Sales Manager for Midwest Americas, was joined by Holstein, Kern and RLCF Board Chairman Jim Kelly as Joy was presented with a Business Industry Award from the Foundation. The award recognizes the major support Joy Mining has shown for the college.
"Safety ... is a very high priority in coal mining," Kirkpatrick said. "The training and the awareness in mining, is beyond belief, that this facility is going to provide their craftsmen - people who mine the product and provide energy for the United States. The Illinois Basin has one of the largest energy resource basins in the world. I'm just so delighted to be a part of this. ... We have some of the best people in Illinois and we just appreciate being a small part of it."