Mining Publication: Methane and Dust Controls for Longwalls: Pocahontas No. 3 Coalbed, Grundy, Va.
The periphery of longwall panels in the Pocahontas No. 3 Coalbed is characterized by a zone of reduced permeability that inhibits the natural drainage of methane. A residual gas pressure of 105 psig was measured after 1 year in an isolated block of coal measuring 340 by 1,100 feet. The buildup of gas pressure within such large blocks causes methane problems during plowing operations. However, natural drainage holes drilled during development have been found to reduce the gas content of the coal in this coalbed by over 90 percent. The effect of water infusion on dust during plowing operations was investigated using existing methane drainage holes. These holes were cleaned of debris and a pipe was grouted into the hole for water infusion of the panel. Both total and respirable dust levels were reduced by 40 to 79 percent. Water infusion of the panel proved more effective than did the use of a plow-mounted spray system.