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Mining Project: Empirical Guidelines for Longwall Ground Control Design

Project DetailValue
Principal Investigators
  • Ted. M. Klemetti, NIOSH, 412-386-5240
Start Date10/1/2010
Purpose

This project is designed to update the database of case histories upon which the Analysis of Longwall Pillar Stability (ALPS) software bases its recommended stability factors. Variables impacting successful pillar design will be re-evaluated.

Program Area
Keywordsground control, longwall mining, roof support systems

Research Summary

Nearly half of all underground coal miners work in longwall mines. 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. Longwall mines depend upon a series of entries for safe access to and emergency egress from the face and to provide critical ventilation of the working area and mined out panels. These entries may be as great as 15,000 ft long and subjected to severe abutment pressures. A blockage in any of these entries has significant safety implications for the entire mine.

The project's overall goal is to update the database of case histories upon which the Analysis of Longwall Pillar Stability (ALPS) software bases its recommended stability factors and re-evaluate variables impacting successful pillar design to reflect modern mining scenarios.  The project will make an important contribution to the PART goals of reducing injuries from ground failures by 25% over 5 years, and reducing both fatalities and injuries from ground failures by 50% in 8 years. The project directly addresses NIOSH Part Strategic Goal 6: Eliminate Ground Failure Fatalities and Injuries.

Longwall gateroad stability is critical to prevent tailgate collapses which could lead to fatalities and injuries. Proper pillar design and roof support is critical to stable and safe tailgates. The updated ALPS database will ensure the continued value of the ALPS design softwarwe, thus maintaining an importnat design tool for the mining industry. The anticipated output of the project will be an updated and enhanced ALPS chain pillar design method to address the new and difficult mining conditions faced by the industry today. The anticipated outcome of safe pillar design will reduce the threat of tailgate blockages and other ground control related hazards.

 

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