Mining Publication: Demonstration of Remote Mine Seal Construction
Mine seals can be remotely constructed in underground coal mines through vertical boreholes when direct access to a fire is impossible or considered to be too dangerous. This method has great merit because the boreholes can be drilled to specific mine areas, and the seals can be positioned close to a fire zone. The technology, however, can be largely ineffective if the constructed seals do not provide effective barriers to airflow or if they cannot be used to impound water and other inert materials. Unfortunately, no viable alternatives exist to sealing the entire mine at the ground surface. Full-scale remote mine seal construction research is being conducted at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's (NIOSH Lake Lynn Laboratory (LLL). Under this effort, Howard Concrete Pumping Company and GAI Consultants Inc. have joined forces to evaluate a potentially significant improvement to the current state of the art. This paper covers the development of novel technology for remote mine seal construction, the evaluation of the materials used, the construction practice and the follow-up testing.