Mining Publication: Ground Control Design for Highwall Mining
Highwall mining is an important surface coal mining method, and it may account for approximately 4% of total U.S. coal production. Highwall stability is the major ground control related safety concern. Ground control plans for highwall mining should specify hole width, web pillar width, barrier pillar width and number of holes between barriers. This paper offers simple design charts for these parameters aimed at providing "ball park" checks. Web pillars containing pre-existing auger holes are analyzed and a design chart for estimating their minimum width is also presented. Finally, close proximity multiple seam highwall mining, which may have caused several serious highwall failures, is analyzed. Web and barrier pillar recommendations for this special situation are presented.