A crane loads ZMJ shields onto a railcar at Port Everett. (Photo: Signal Peak Energy)

A total of 159 new ZMJ shields arrived at the Port of Everett, Washington, USA, and were transferred to the BNSF Railway for transport to the Signal Peak mine in Montana. Signal Peak is entering a portion of its reserve where the coal is 13.5- to 15-feet (ft) thick. The mine purchased 161 45-ton, 2-m-wide ZMJ shields using the HBT (Cat) Control System, which are taller to accommodate the change in seam height. They already had two prototypes in service. The shields will have a 16-ft maximum mining height with 420-mm legs. The new face will use a Joy 7LS5 shearer, which would be one of the tallest shearers operating in the U.S.