Coal is carbonized plant matter that, over time, underwent an exposure to heat and coalesced in swamps. The resulting ancient black rock that formed is what is known as coal and since the process took millions of years for the coal to form, coal is known as a fossil fuel. When thinking of coal in general, it is easy to imagine that coal's purpose serves to make steel and produce energy at electrical pants. However, since the advent of coal mining, it became obvious that coal's role in everyday lives could extend from steel making and energy. Companies like The Colorado Fuel and Iron Company (CF&I) found many uses for coal the primary one for CF&I the process of making steel. Because of the geologic history of Colorado, Southern Colorado was an important location of coal beds. While building new mines, CF&I found the rich coal beds around Trinidad, Colorado and ideal spot to place a new mine

An early ad dipicting the many uses of coal.

For a medium ash coal, the heat content is:Subbituminous coal...........8,000 to 10,000 BTU*Bituminous coal (Frederick Mine Coal)................10,000 to 14,000 BTUAnthracite coal..................12,000 to 14,000 BTU*A BTU is a British Thermal Unit and is equal to the heat in one kitchen match.[1]

Types of coals. The type of coal found in Frederick Mine makes up 52% of the world's reserves.
Hard coal, the type found in the Fredrick and Segundo Mines, have specific properties when use is concerned. Interestingly enough, much of this is dependent on how many BTUs are in the specific type of coal being mined that will determine what the coal is used for.

For a medium ash coal, the heat content is:
Subbituminous coal...........8,000 to 10,000 BTU*
Bituminous coal (Frederick Mine Coal)................10,000 to 14,000 BTU
Anthracite coal..................12,000 to 14,000 BTU
*A BTU is a British Thermal Unit and is equal to the heat in one kitchen match.

Map of United States depicting coal fields and types of coal located in respective areas. Note the medium and high-volatile bituminous coal found in Frederick Mine area.

Modern Coal Mining

After Frederick much changed in the way of mining coal and much has stayed the same. Much like in the day of Frederick, the process of mining underground still takes place albeit under the use of mechanization. Unlike the days when Frederick Mine operated, there exists many different types of mining procedures all dependent on where the coal is located in the mine.
Illustration depecting the different methods of coal extraction. All modern methods as demonstrated are executed through the use of machines and vehicles.

The modern process of surface mining much different from methods used in the past at Frederick Mine. Note the care taken in regards to the environment.

Mines left in Colorado
The world processes more coal than gas and oil combined and is expected to rise.

Even after the coal boom of the early twentieth century and fallen and places like Frederick Mine closed, the world's consumption of coal was actually rising. New technologies and methods of coal extraction means fewer mines can produce more coal and countries like Russian and China soon caught up with and surpassed the United States in coal production.

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