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The Yihua Xinjiang Wucaiwan coal mine is situated in the north-west of China near the borders with Russia, Kazakhstan and Mongolia. Contractor Xinjiang Jianyun Engineering Co. Ltd. has been mining coal here for about one-and-a-half years, making use of the eco-friendly surface mining technology. Previously, the sought-after fossil fuel was mined using conventional methods, i.e. drilling and blasting. However, this often resulted in fires in the mine, as the coal was highly flammable at the open coal faces damaged by blasting. In order to increase safety at the mine, the mine operator decided to introduce surface mining as the new mining method. This move simultaneously boosted the cost effectiveness and quality of mining.