Mining Project: Empirical Guidelines for Longwall Ground Control Design
The project's overall goal is to update aging NIOSH ground control technology for longwall mines, primarily the ALPS program for mine design. The new technology will also include guidelines for effective roof and rib support and best practices for installing roof screen.
|Keywords||ground control, longwall mining, roof support systems|
Nearly half of all underground coal miners work in longwall mines, which tend to operate in thicker seams and at greater depths than other mines, so in addition to traditional roof fall ground control hazards, they are vulnerable to coal bumps and elevated risk from rib rolls. 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 15,000 ft long and subjected to severe abutment pressures, but a blockage anywhere has severe safety implications for the entire mine. 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 project's overall goal is to update aging NIOSH ground control technology for longwall mines, primarily the Analysis of Longwall Pillar Stability (ALPS) program for mine design. The new technology will also include guidelines for effective roof and rib support and best practices for installing roof screen. 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 make longwall pillar design the best it can be. 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 bumps and tailgate blockages.