Actually for a Coal Mine. Grande Cache Coal to be exact. I did some work in 2011 to develop an EDI system to help with the release of the Trains from the mine. This time it has been to help with the production reporting within the mine and for Logistics. The objective was to replace a number of ad-hoc reporting mechanisms with a reporting systems integrated with the Production monitoring and reporting systems in the mine and the ERP that reports and accounts for things. If you are in this business you will have an idea of what I am talking about. Otherwise this will be all greek.
Grande Cache has two operations going on at this time, one is underground, one is on the surface. Why some might question why mine the coal, it is bad for the environment and untimately damaging for the planet. Well it comes down to should this coal be mined? I think this is the important point. Decisions to produce this natural resource over others is a case by case situation. While I can not disclose details of the operation, as I am under contract with them at the moment, I have seen every evidence that this company is doing it in a respectful and considerate manner.
As for the coal, while some of it is used for thermal power generation, this is a byproduct of the operation. A majority of the coal is used for steel production.