Mining Publication: Underground Gob Gas Drainage During Longwall Mining
Gas drainage through surface boreholes has been the conventional means of methane control for U.S. longwall gobs. However, these vertical boreholes are becoming so costly, and the surface rights so difficult to obtain, that the Bureau of Mines is developing underground gob gas drainage as an alternate means of methane control for U.S. longwalls. Holes are drilled into the roof over the panel and on retreating longwalls, towards the working face from a location inby the face. As the longwall retreats, an increasing portion of the hole intercepts the fracture system over the caved gob. A surface exhauster maintains a vacuum on a pipeline paralleling the panel and draws the methane mixture out of the mine. Auxiliary systems of gob gas drainage during longwall mining will be essential for an increasing number of coal mines. Deep and gassy mines often find ventilation insufficient for adequate dilution of methane in bleeder entries. Although this cross-measure method of degasification has been used successfully in Europe, some of the European techniques cannot be directly applied to U.S. mines. This is the first study of its kind in this country.