• Published Papers 2015 - 2019
  • Mechanics of Rib Deformation Observations and Monitoring in Australian Coal Mines - Yvette Heritage

    The risk of fatalities from rib failure is still prevalent in the coal mining industry. This risk has prompted further research to be conducted on rib deformation in order to understand the mechanisms of rib failure, with the long-term objective being to improve rib support design. This paper presents the results of ACARP research project C25057, which investigated the mechanics and drivers of rib failure. The results of rib deformation monitoring at three different mines in Australia provides rib deformation characteristics for overburden depths ranging from 160 m to 530 m. Monitoring includes deformation during development drivage conditions and during the longwall retreat abutment stress environment. The rib deformation monitoring covered three different seams: the Goonyella Middle Seam, Ulan Seam, and Bulli Seam in the Bowen Basin, Western Coalfield, and Southern Coalfield, respectively. The observed mechanisms driving the rib deformation ranged from bedding shear failure along weak claystone bands to vertical shear fractures to kinematic failures driven by shear failure dilation. The variation in mechanisms of rib failure, together with the seemingly consistent method of rib support design, prompts the question: What exactly is the role of rib support? Mechanics-of-Rib-Deformation-Observations-and-Monitoring-in-Australian-Coal-Mines-Yvette-Heritage-2018.pdf6.1 MB
  • Mechanics of Rib Deformation at Moranbah North Mine A Case Study - Yvette Heritage

    Moonee Colliery are longwall mining in the Great Northern seam at depths ranging from 90m to 170m. Surface infrastructure above the first four longwall panels includes the Pacific Highway and several residential and commercial properties.

    This paper describes the pillar design approach used to manage surface subsidence in the area. The approach is based on previous detailed subsidence and pillar monitoring in nearby Wallarah Colliery and measurements of subsidence throughout the Lake Macquarie area for a wide range of pillar sizes and overburden depths. Undermining the Pacific Highway requires consideration of not only the amount of subsidence but also the timing and nature of subsidence. Various options were considered and a design developed to control surface subsidence to acceptable levels. This paper summarises the results of previous monitoring and outlines the issues considered in the longwall panel design for subsidence control at Moonee Colliery. COAL-2018-Mechanics-of-Rib-Deformation-at-Moranbah-North-Mine-A-Case-Study-Y.Heritage-2018.pdf2.6 MB
  • Insights into the Energy Sources of Bursts in Coal Mines and the Effective of Prevention and Control Measures - Mahdi Zoorabadi - Winton Gale

    Coalburst is a general term, which is commonly used in the coal mining industry for the violent failures of coal in the ribs and face of roadways and panels in underground coalmines. Due to lack of interest in the industry to reveal the causing source of the event, or due to uncertainty about the source, they happily use this term. The term by its own does not reveal the source of the energy, which causes the event. There are three sources of energy that can cause a burst event in underground coalmines: 1) store elastic strain energy, 2) seismic events and 3) gas expansion energy. This paper presents the fundamentals about these sources of energies and discusses our known and unknown facts about the mechanisms. Additionally, it discusses the reliability and effectiveness of stress relief holes and gas exhaust holes as controlling measures to prevent burst events. Insights-into-the-Energy-Sources-of-Bursts-in-Coal-Mines-and-the-Effective-of-Prevention-and-Control-Measures-M.Zoorabadi-2018.pdf1.4 MB
  • Insights into the mechanics of multi seam subsidence from Ashton Underground Mine - Ken Mills - Steve Wilson

    Examples of subsidence monitoring of multi-seam mining in Australian conditions are relatively limited compared to the extensive database of monitoring from single seam mining. The subsidence monitoring data now available from the mining of longwall panels in two seams at the Ashton Underground Mine (Ashton) provides an opportunity to significantly advance the understanding of subsidence behaviour in response to multi-seam mining in a regular offset geometry. This paper presents an analysis and interpretation of the multi-seam subsidence monitoring data from the first five panels in the second seam at the Ashton Underground Mine. The methods used to estimate subsidence effects for the planned third seam of mining are also presented.

    Observations of the characteristics of multi-seam subsidence indicate that although more complex than single seam mining, the subsidence movements are regular and reasonably predictable. Movements are constrained within the general footprint of the active panel. They are however sensitive to the relative panel geometries in each seam and to the direction of mining. In an offset geometry, tilt and strain levels are observed to remain at single seam levels despite the greater vertical displacement. At stacked goaf edges tilt and strain levels are up to four times greater. Latent subsidence recovered from the overlying seam has been identified as a key contributor to the subsidence outcomes. Some conventional single seam concepts such as angle of draw and subcritical/supercritical behaviour are less meaningful in a multi-seam environment. Insights-into-the-mechanics-of-multi-seam-subsidence-from-Ashton-Underground-Mine-K.Mills-S.Wilson-2017.pdf2.5 MB
  • Validation of a Subsidence Prediction Approach of Combined Modelling and Empirical Methods - Yvette Heritage

    Subsidence prediction is often required outside the limits of empirical databases where we look to other methods to expand our understanding of overburden caving and subsidence effects. Computer modelling, through simulation of rock failure and
    overburden caving, provides a means to extrapolate beyond current experience and to investigate other aspects of caving processes that are becoming increasingly important; aspects such as multi-seam interactions, irregular overburden geologies and groundwater interactions.

    This paper describes examples and a range of useful outcomes from modelling simulations of rock failure and overburden caving to illustrate how modelling is being used to extend understanding of multi-seam mining scenarios, irregular overburden geology, “greenfield” mining areas, increasing overburden depths and the requirement to understand overburden fracture formation and vertical hydraulic connectivity. A case study from the Bowen Basin is used as an example of the value of combining modelling and an empirical approach to improve subsidence prediction and provide validation and calibration of the prediction methodologies for future subsidence prediction. Validation-of-a-Subsidence-Prediction-Approach-of-Combined-Modelling-and-Empirical-Methods-Y.Heritage2017.pdf2.5 MB
  • Experience of Monitoring the Interaction between Ground Deformations and Groundwater above an Extracted Longwall Panel - Ken Mills - Ben Blacka

    This paper presents the results of a field measurement program aimed to measure the interaction of groundwater and mining induced ground deformations above a sub-critical width longwall panel in a series of panels, two decades after mining. Three cored holes were drilled from the surface above the centre of a longwall panel down towards the highly fractured zone known to exist just about seam level. Observations including lithology, jointing, mining induced fracturing, groundwater flows and measurements of various hydrogeological parameters were made while the boreholes were open. The holes were then fully grouted and vibrating wire piezometers installed to measure the equilibrium piezometric profile.

    The results of this program provide correlation between the experience of ground deformation monitoring and the experience of groundwater monitoring. These results provide a basis to develop groundwater models to faithfully represent the interactions between groundwater and mining induced ground deformations. Experience-of-Monitoring-the-Interaction-between-Ground-Deformations-and-Groundwater-above-an-Extracted-Longwall-Panel-K.Mills-B.Blacka-2017.pdf1.9 MB
  • Experience of monitoring shear movements in the Overburden Strata - Luc Daigle - Ken Mills

    Surface subsidence monitoring shows horizontal movements occur around longwall panels for a considerable distance outside the footprint of a longwall panel; typically several hundred metres to several kilometres. Less is known about how these movements are distributed between the surface and the mining horizon. A range of systems have been developed to measure how horizontal movements are distributed within the overburden strata generally and sometimes around specific geological structures. This paper describes the experience of using a range of these systems at various sites and some of the insights that these measurements bring with particular focus on the use of deep inclinometers.

    The capability to measure induced displacements has developed over time from surface observations to use of borehole systems such as multi-arm callipers, downhole camera imaging and specially installed inclinometers placed to depths up to 300 m. Some techniques such as open boreholes and the multi-arm, oriented calliper have mainly been used at shallow depths where breakout and squeezing ground do not compromise the measurements. Others such as the borehole camera provide context but are not so suitable for quantitative measurement. The inclinometer installed in a large diameter borehole backfilled with pea-gravel has been found to provide high resolution measurements up to a horizontal displacement on any one horizon of about 60-80 mm. Inclinometers have been used at multiple sites around Australia to measure shear displacements to depths of up to about 300m. Shaped array accelerometers are an alternative that provide temporal resolution of a few minutes and provide continuous monitoring over a limited interval but tend to be most useful for monitoring the onset of low magnitude shear displacements. Experience-of-monitoring-shear-movements-in-the-overburden-strata-L.Daigle-K.Mills-2017.pdf1.7 MB
  • Connectivity of Mining Induced Fractures Below Longwall Panels A Modelling Approach - Yvette Heritage - Winton Gale - Adrian Rippon

    Gas make into active longwall panels is an important issue in ventilation and gas drainage design. A method of simulating the mining induced fracture network and associated increase in hydraulic conductivity is a necessity for improved mine design, hazard management planning and gas drainage efficiency. This paper identifies and illustrates the key components in determining the connectivity of lower gas sources to an active goaf. Computer modelling identifies the formation of cyclic fractures that form below the longwall face and extend down back below the goaf. These cyclic fractures form when the stress conditions are high enough and the strata properties allow for shear failure to extend down through the strata.

    The mining induced fracture formation and stress redistribution creates increased hydraulic conductivity of the floor strata below the active goaf. The stress redistribution and fracture volume also reduce the pore pressure below the goaf, allowing gas desorption to occur from lower seams. The combination of gas desorption and increased hydraulic conductivity allows gas connectivity from gas sources below the seam to the active goaf. A monitoring program at a NSW mine as part of ACARP Project C23009 allowed for preliminary validation of the concepts illustrated from the computer modelling. Preliminary field gas flow measurements are within the range of connectivity expectations based on rock failure modelling of longwall extraction. This report presents the first validation results for the modelling approach presented in this paper. Further results from ACARP Project C23009 on optimisation of gas drainage will follow in future publications. Connectivity-of-mining-induced-fractures-below-longwall-panels-A-Modelling-Approach-Y.Heritage-W.Gale-A.Rippon-2017.pdf1.3 MB
  • Impact of bedding plane and laminations on softening zone around the roadways - 3D Numerical Assessment - Mahdi Zoorabadi

    When the distributed rock stress around the roadways exceeds the strength of the rock, the rock is failed and a softening zone is formed. Roof deformation developed in the roof and ribs of the roadways are highly controlled by the depth of softening zones. The rock failure process starts from a point ahead of the face and grows into the roof, floor and ribs by advancing roadway. The
    maximum stress that can be transferred through the failed rocks would be equal to its residual confined strength. Therefore, rock stress is moved above failed zone and will create new failure zone if it is higher than the confined strength of rock at that depth. This process continues until the confined strength of the rock becomes higher than stress components. Bedding and lamination planes play a big role into the failure pathway of rocks around roadways. The thickness of softening zone is significantly influenced by the shear and tensile strength of bedding planes and laminations. This paper presents a 3D numerical assessment of the bedding and lamination planes impacts to the forming and extension of the softening zones. It highlights the requirements for better characterisation of bedding and lamination planes for reliable simulation of roadways. Impact-of-bedding-plane-and-laminations-on-softening-zone-around-the-roadways-3D-Numerical-Assessment-M.Zoorabadi-2017.pdf1.5 MB
  • Deformability Modulus of Jointed Rocks, Limitation of Empirical Methods and Introducing a New Analytical Approach-Mahdi-Zoorabadi

    Deformability modulus of jointed rocks is a key parameter for stability analysis of underground structures by numerical modelling techniques. Intact rock strength, rock mass blockiness (shape and size of rock blocks), surface condition of discontinuities (shear strength of discontinuities) and confining stress level are the key parameters controlling deformability of jointed rocks. Considering cost and limitation of field measurements to determine deformability modulus, empirical equations which were mostly developed based on rock mass classifications are too common in practice. All well-known empirical formulations dismissed the impact of stress on deformability modulus. Therefore, these equations result in the same value for a rock at different stress fields.

    This paper discusses this issue in more detail and highlights shortcomings of existing formulations. Finally it presents an extension to analytical techniques to determine the deformability modulus of jointed rocks by a combination of the geometrical properties of discontinuities and elastic modulus of intact rock. In this extension, the effect of confining stress was incorporated in the formulation to improve its reliability. Deformability-Modulus-of-Jointed-Rocks-Limitation-of-Empirical-Methods-and-Introducing-a-New-Analytical-Approach-M.Zoorabadi-2016.pdf943 KB
  • In-Situ Stress Measurements and Stress Change Monitoring to Monitor Overburden Caving Behaviour and Hydraulic Fracture Pre-Conditioning - Jesse Puller, Ken Mills, Rob Jeffrey

    A coal mine in New South Wales is longwall mining 300 m wide panels at a depth of 160–180 m directly below a 16–20 m thick conglomerate strata. As part of a strategy to use hydraulic fracturing to manage
    potential windblast and periodic caving hazards associated with these conglomerate strata, the in-situ stresses in the conglomerate were measured using ANZI strain cells and the overcoring method of stress relief. Changes in stress associated with abutment loading and placement of hydraulic fractures were also measured using ANZI strain cells installed from the surface and from underground. Overcore stress measurements have indicated that the vertical stress is the lowest principal stress so that hydraulic fractures
    placed ahead of mining form horizontally and so provide effective pre-conditioning to promote caving of the conglomerate strata. Monitoring of stress changes in the overburden strata during longwall retreat was undertaken at two different locations at the mine. The monitoring indicated stress changes were evident 150 m ahead of the longwall face and abutment loading reached a maximum increase of about 7.5 MPa. The stresses ahead of mining change gradually with distance to the approaching longwall and in a direction consistent with the horizontal in-situ stresses. There was no evidence in the stress change monitoring results to indicate significant cyclical forward abutment loading ahead of the face. The forward abutment load determined from the stress change monitoring is consistent with the weight of overburden
    strata overhanging the goaf indicated by subsidence monitoring. In-Situ-Stress-Measurements-and-Stress-Change-Monitoring-to-Monitor-Overburden-Caving-Behaviour-and-Hydraulic-Fracture-Pre-Conditioning-Jesse-Puller-Ken-Mills-Rob-Jeffrey-2015.pdf1.8 MB
  • Analytical Procedure to Estimate the Horizontal Anisotropy of Hydraulic Conductivity in Coal Seams - Winton Gale - Mahdi Zoorabadi

    The horizontal hydraulic conductivity anisotropy of coal seams is a controlling parameter for designing gas drainage boreholes. The ratio between the maximum and minimum horizontal hydraulic conductivity (RkH-kh) and the orientation of maximum horizontal conductivity defines this anisotropy in horizontal plane.

    This paper presents a new analytical procedure based on the field stress data and geometrical properties of coal cleats to calculate these two parameters. The application of this procedure for a real case in Eastern of Australia resulted in an average ratio of 20.9 for RkH-kh and orientation of NE for maximum horizontal conductivity. The comparison between these results with the measured values validated the accuracy of proposed procedure to estimate the anisotropy of horizontal hydraulic conductivity of coal seams. Analytical-Procedure-to-Estimate-the-Horizontal-Anisotropy-of-Hydraulic-Conductivity-in-Coal-Seams-W.Gale-M.Zoorabadi-2015.pdf377 KB
  • A Combined 2D and 3D Modelling Approach to Provide Adequate Roof Support in Complex 3D Excavations - Yvette Heritage

    Traditional methods for assessing effective roof support can be difficult to apply to complex 3D excavations. Through worked examples, this paper illustrates the successful approach of combined 2D and 3D numerical modelling to understand the mechanisms of rock failure for unique excavation geometries. The modelling approach provides adequate roof support recommendations for complex 3D excavations in Australian coal mines. A-Combined-2D-and-3D-Modelling-Approach-to-Provide-Adequate-Roof-Support-in-Complex-3D-Excavations-Y.Heritage-2015.pdf2 MB
  • Experience of Using the ANZI Strain Cell for Three Dimensional In Situ Stress Determinations in Deep Exploration Boreholes - Ken Mills - Jesse Puller

    This paper describes the Australia, New Zealand Inflatable (ANZI) strain cell, its operation, and recent development for overcoring in exploration boreholes. The ANZI strain cell is an instrument system that uses the overcoring method of stress relief to determine the three-dimensional, in-situ stresses in rock. The instrument has been used successfully for over three decades in numerous underground mining and civil projects, but technical advances over the last decade or so have allowed the system to be deployed in surface exploration boreholes to greater depths than was previously possible. Recent development of a downhole electronic data logger, a wireline-enabled drilling system, and an instrument deployment system has simplified the process of obtaining three-dimensional overcore measurements at depths approaching 1km to a single shift operation.

    The capability to deploy ANZI strain cells in surface exploration boreholes represents a significant breakthrough for the design of underground mines and underground excavations generally. Highconfidence characterisation of the in-situ stresses at the design stage provides the opportunity to design key infrastructure and mining systems to take advantage of the in-situ stress field from the outset before mining begins. Understanding the three-dimensional, insitu stress field not only provides a measure of the magnitude and direction of loads acting within the rock mass, it also provides insight into the mechanics of all the various processes driving ground deformations, including which geological fault structures are at limiting equilibrium. Experience-of-Using-the-ANZI-Strain-Cell-for-Three-Dimensional-In-Situ-Stress-Determinations-in-Deep-Exploration-Boreholes-2014.pdf2.6 MB
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