Longwall mining techniques were introduced into U.S. bituminous coal mining operations in the early 1960s. These techniques were gradually adopted by many mines during the 1970s. By 1983, considered to be the peak of the longwall mine census, there were 118 active longwall faces in 79 coal mines throughout the United States. Beginning in 1984, longwall faces began a decline in numbers that has continued to the present day (Fig. 1).