Mining Publication: Analysis of the Current Rib Support Practices and Techniques in U.S. Coal Mines

Original creation date: January 2016

Authors: KM Mohamed, MM Murphy, HE Lawson, TM Klemetti

Peer Reviewed Journal Article - January 2016

NIOSHTIC2 Number: 20047325

Int J Min Sci Technol 2016 Jan; 26(1):77-87

Design of rib support systems in U.S. coal mines is based primarily on local practices and experience. A better understanding of current rib support practices in U.S. coal mines is crucial for developing a sound engineering rib support design tool. The objective of this paper is to analyze the current practices of rib control in U.S. coal mines. Twenty underground coal mines were studied representing various coal basins, coal seams, geology, loading conditions, and rib control strategies. The key findings are: (1) any rib design guideline or tool should take into account external rib support as well as internal bolting; (2) rib bolts on their own cannot contain rib spall, especially in soft ribs subjected to significant load—external rib control devices such as mesh are required in such cases to contain rib sloughing; (3) the majority of the studied mines follow the overburden depth and entry height thresholds recommended by the Program Information Bulletin 11-29 issued by the Mine Safety and Health Administration; (4) potential rib instability occurred when certain geological features prevailed—these include draw slate and/or bone coal near the rib/roof line, claystone partings, and soft coal bench overlain by rock strata; (5) 47% of the studied rib spall was classified as blocky—this could indicate a high potential of rib hazards; and (6) rib injury rates of the studied mines for the last three years emphasize the need for more rib control management for mines operating at overburden depths between 152.4 m and 304.8 m.

Cover image for Analysis of the Current Rib Support Practices and Techniques in U.S. Coal Mines
Peer Reviewed Journal Article - January 2016

NIOSHTIC2 Number: 20047325

Int J Min Sci Technol 2016 Jan; 26(1):77-87


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