Little Giant

Little Giant picture
Located at West Mineral, Kansas


"Little Giant" is the world's smallest working replica of an early-day electric mining shovel. Built by a hobbyist in Kansas over an 11-year period in the 1930s and 1940s, it was purchased in 1946 by The Pittsburg & Midway Coal Mining Co. (P&M), a Chevron company based in Englewood, Colorado.

Constructed on a scale on one inch to one foot, "Little Giant" is complete in every detail. It has approximately 30,000 rivets and 2,000 bolts, and weighs 700 pounds.

"Little Giant" has been displayed at state fairs, conventions and civic gatherings to show how full-sized coal mining equipment functions. Attached to a control stand by cables and powered by five small motors, "Little Giant" can be operated to demonstrate how it and its mammoth successor machines, called "draglines," scoop up millions and millions of tons of earth, or overburden, to expose rich coal seams below.

But because coal miners are dedicated to protecting the environment, coal mining doesn't stop there. Reclamation of mined land is an integral part of the surface mining cycle. After the coal seams are exposed and the coal is extracted, the overburden that had been piled off to the side is pushed back into place. Bulldozers and other equipment then reshape the land into its original contours. Topsoil is replaced, reseeded and revegetated, trees are replanted, and in a short while the mined land is more productive than it was before mining took place — for growing crops, for grazing livestock, or for recreation.

Why Coal?

Why is all this necessary - and why are more than one billion tons of coal mined in the United States each year from both surface and underground mines? Because more than half of our nation's electricity — right at 56% — comes from abundant, clean coal.

Truly, there is no other domestic fuel that can displace coal in providing needed energy. And from both a technological and economic perspective, wide-scale use of "renewables" such as solar and wind power to generate electricity is many, many years away.

Coal is the most abundant energy resource available in the United States; one people will rely on for many decades to come. The economic well-being of America — and the creature comforts of all its citizens — depends on an abundant supply of affordable electricity. The good news is that the United States has enough coal reserves to generate that electricity for 200-300 years!

Is coal important? YOU BET YOUR LIGHTS!

Or, said another way: COAL: IT LIGHTS UP YOUR LIFE.

Information provided as a service by The Pittsburg & Midway Coal Mining Co. (P&M), a Chevron company

The Morning Sun Online (2/17/99)
Big Brutus acquiring a little brother for exhibit
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Big Brutus, a non-profit Kansas corporation dedicated to the mining heritage of Southeast Kansas.

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