Mining Publication: Comparison of Ground Conditions and Ground Control Practices in the United States and Australia
Australia and the United States both have large underground coal mining industries. Many companies have invested in both countries, and there is growing awareness that technological developments in one country can rapidly affect the other. Yet the ability of technology to pass between the countries depends on comparability of ground conditions. Many Australian observers believe that their ground conditions are significantly poorer than typical U.S. conditions, but some U.S. professionals are not convinced. The author recently visited 10 Australian longwall mines and tow room-and-pillar mines. Each mine visit included determination of the Coal Mine Roof Rating, roof support installed, pillar design, and an in-depth discussion of ground control experience. The Australian conditions observed are comparable with an extensive data base from U. S. mines. The paper also offers observations on geotechnical data collection, monitoring, and the roles of the mine inspectorate and research community.