Mining Publication: Longwall Retreat of Gate Road Pillars
The report describes a U.S. Bureau of Mines investigation into the removal of gate road chain pillars in conjunction with longwall retreat mining. The research objective was to determine, through evaluations of the loads imposed on the gate road pillars and supplemental support elements in the entries, how the pillars, supplemental support, and entries were affected by the longwall abutment pressure. To achieve this goal, vibrating wire stressmeters and hydraulic flatjack pressure cells were installed in the support elements to monitor stress change caused by abutment pressure as a function of longwall face advance. The findings documented in the report are the result of information collected from instrumentation and observation at the mine. Pillar and support loading measurements and stability observations revealed that the roof and the support elements remained stable during panel retreat, while the face progressed at a normal rate of advance. The ability to safely and efficiently mine chain pillars during panel retreat increases resource recovery and can provide several other benefits described in the report.