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Mining Project: Design Procedures for Gateroad Ground Control

Keywords:
Principal Investigator
  • Gabriel Esterhuizen, NIOSH, 412-386-5207
Start Date10/1/2014
Objective

To develop engineering-based procedures that will contribute to the practical design of ground control systems in gateroad excavations and longwall extractions.

Topic Area

Research Summary

This project has three research aims, as follows:

  1. Quantify rock-support interaction in gateroads subject to longwall loading.
  2. Identify critical parameters affecting gateroad stability.
  3. Develop and test practical design procedures for gateroad ground control.

Underground coal miners working in longwall mines face hazards from major roof collapses that can block necessary escape routes and ventilation airways, and from injuries from falls of smaller volumes of rock and coal. The blockage of ventilation airways has the potential to lead to gob combustion, an extremely hazardous and unacceptable outcome.

This project aims to reduce these hazards by developing engineering-based procedures that will contribute to the practical design of ground control systems in gateroad excavations and longwall extractions. Design guidelines, methods, and best practices will be developed to reduce the quantity and severity of ground instabilities due to longwall extraction. The effectiveness of these design procedures will be evaluated through numerical modeling, statistical analysis, and back analysis of historic events.

The research approach will include in-mine monitoring studies, laboratory testing to quantify rock properties, full-scale support testing to characterize current and new standing support systems, numerical analysis of rock-support interaction under changing loading conditions, analysis of support alternatives, and finally the development of practical design procedures based on sound engineering principles. The goal is to reduce unplanned ground instabilities in longwall mines by at least 35%.

The impact of the developed design procedures will be a reduction in the frequency and severity of injuries due to longwall gateroad instabilities. The level of reduction in injuries will vary by mining conditions, but in many cases the resulting longwall gateroad stability will eliminate the disruption to the ventilation system.


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