Draglines are presented in this paper as an alternative for mine reclamation in steep sloping areas. Some abandoned mines in steep sloping areas of Kentucky have unreclaimed slopes which pose safety problems, as well as environmental and aesthetic problems. In addition, many active mines in steep sloping areas of Kentucky have slopes which must be reclaimed in the near future. Current methods of slope reclamation in Kentucky typically involve traditional heavy equipment. The current methods are not cost efficient in some cases, and are not safe in some applications.

The paper includes a history of draglines. Early development is summarized, and major improvements are discussed. Unreclaimed acreage in Kentucky and the mining and reclamation methods traditionally used for strip mines in Kentucky are discussed. The engineering feasibility of draglines is discussed. Bearing capacity and slope stability are presented as factors which influence the engineering feasibility of draglines in steep sloping areas. A presumptive value of hearing capacity for a typical spoil bank is calculated. The factor of safety against slope stability failure is discussed. A reclamation method which minimizes the risk of bearing or slope stability failures is presented. The economic feasibility of dragline reclamation is also presented. The initial cost and production costs of dragline equipment is compared to the initial cost and production costs of other reclamation equipment. In addition, the “crescent" scraper system is introduced as an alternative to conventional dragline bucket and line systems. A drag line equipped with a "Crescent” scraper system can reclaim very long slopes in steep areas which were previously considered unfeasible for dragline use.

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The contents of this report reflect the views of the author, who is responsible for the facts and accuracy of the data presented herein. The contents do not necessarily reflect the official views or policies of the University of Kentucky. The report does not constitute a standard, specification, or regulation.