Mining Publication: Design Methodology for Standing Secondary Roof Support in Longwall Tailgates
Maintaining ground stability in the gate roads, particularly the tailgate, has always been critical to the success of longwall mining, both in terms of safety and productivity. Several new support technologies have been developed in recent years to replace conventional wood and concrete cribbing for secondary roof support. Since their performance characteristics are unique, the best practices that have been developed with conventional wood cribbing may not be applicable for these alternative support technologies. Therefore, with so many options to consider and the importance of achieving adequate ground control at minimal cost, the trial and error approach to longwall gate road support is no longer prudent. This paper discusses a design methodology for standing secondary tailgate supports. This design technique requires in-mine measurements of tailgate support loading and convergence to establish a tailgate ground reaction behavior based on the support and strata interaction. The methodology uses the performance characteristics generated in the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) Mine Roof Simulator (MRS) to match the stiffness and load characteristics of various supports to the measured ground reaction behavior. It can be used to determine the appropriate application of alternative roof support systems or to design in-mine trails such that a fair and equitable comparison of different support systems can be made. A case study of the methodology at a western Pennsylvania mine site is presented in the paper, including a comparison of four alternative support technologies to conventional wood and concrete cribbing historically used at this particular mine.