Mining Publication: Analysis and Prediction of Longwall Methane Emissions: A Case Study in the Pocahontas No. 3 Coalbed, VA
Increasing longwall panel dimensions, particularly face width in gassy coalbeds, may result in unexpected increases in methane emissions. To investigate this problem, continuous longwall face emission monitoring studies were conducted at two adjacent mines operating in the Pocahontas No. 3 Coalbed, where longwall faces were to be extended from 229 to 305 m (750 to 1,000 ft). It was predicted by regression analysis of methane emissions data from 229 m (750 ft) wide longwall faces that extending faces to 305 m (1,000 ft) would increase methane emission rates by only 7 percent (0.6 m3/min (20 cfm)), to 8.6 m3/min (304 cfm) at the VP-1 Mine. In contrast, it was predicted that extending faces at the VP-3 Mine could increase methane emissions by as much as 13 percent (1.8 m3/min (65 cfm)) to 16.1 m3/min (567 cfm). The geologic and mine design factors influencing the variation in face emissions between the two mines will be discussed.