There are at least two permanent truths in this frozen world of ours.
One – Coal is underground
Two – Manpower is scarce
With these two rules, the Coal Mine was conceived.
No, what am I trying to achieve with this overly dramatic introduction. It is true that I am writing this for myself, but what if some colleague of mine rummaged through my notes and found this? Well, enough of that. The Coal Mine was actually about the first thing in our art-sketch-research book. Since it was the only way that we actually even got to ground coal before the Great Winter, it was naturally the first choice. Coal thumpers didn't exist back then, and why would they? The mines were efficient on manpower and provided us with what we needed, for quite a long time.
The sketch that we found in the book was actually more of a deep drill than a mine, since it was made to be on small, but deep deposits of rich, beautiful anthracite like our crater has. It accomodates 10 workers, which get sent down by a long elevator, where they break coal and load it onto a conveyor belt system powered by a steam core, which also provides the workers with ventilation so that they don't suffocate. An automaton can be alternatively sent down, where it will perform pretty much the same thing, but it will be a tad less efficient because one Mr-Longlegs can't quite keep up with 10 men, at least at the time of me writing this diary entry.
Later on we needed more and more coal for the ever-so-hungry Generator, which gave our mines a run for their steam cores. We listed in the book, and we found the steam coal mine. With more than a doubled output and a half automatized excavation powered by numerous autonomous drills, we were thrilled when we first started its machinery an hour before the workshift started. The output has truly doubled, and our first automaton was assigned to simply gather the coal from the drills and onto the conveyors. It was truly a magnificent sight, we even could turn off the heaters and ventilation and the machines wouldn't mind. Needless to say every coal miner was thrilled that they didn't have to ruin up their lungs anymore with the 10 hours of unhealthy toil.
As our city progressed, we advanced and adapted. The same could be said about the Coal Mines. We tuned their outputs up by 20 %, and designed the Advanced Coal Mine. This one was fully automatic, but needed human control. If we were to add in another two steam cores to act as the controllers, everything would be automatic. But since this was deemed inefficient, the drills, conveyors and the coal elevator were wired to a control panel, which either a human or an automaton can operate, with the previous being completely safe and warm while doing so. We decided to go with the automaton though, and now the mines are our secondary coal source, with the primary one being our Steam Coal Thumpers.
Overall, these mines should keep us warm during the Storm. We did everything we could to reinforce the hydraulic supports, but since the top of the mine needs to be open and can let ice crystals we could still lose them. Although, I must say, that is a situation of very low probability, as we calculated. Or at least I hope.
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