• A Combined 2D and 3D Modelling Approach to Provide Adequate Roof Support in Complex 3D Excavations

    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-Excavations2 MB
  • A Method of Determining Longwall Abutment Load Distributions for Roadway and Pillar Design

    This paper describes a method to determine abutment loads on longwall chain pillars and adjacent roadways. The method is based on: observation of subsidence behaviour, field measurements of abutment load distributions, and considerations of total overburden load about one or more longwall panels.

    Surface subsidence data is used to deduce how far the overburden strata can transfer overburden weight and the total abutment load required to be distributed for any particular depth and longwall geometry. To be of practical use in roadway and pillar design, the shape of the abutment load distribution is also required as a function of distance from the goaf edge. Direct field measurement using high quality, three dimensional stress monitoring instruments is considered to provide the most reliable method of determining the magnitude and shape of the abutment load distribution at various stages of longwall mining.

    The abutment load distribution determined at any one site by field measurement can be scaled horizontally to account for changes in overburden depth and vertically to account for changes in total abutment load. Thus, within the limitations of extrapolating data from one site to another, the abutment load distribution can be estimated for different depth and longwall geometries. Pillar loading and the vertical stress acting on adjacent roadways can then be determined from the measured load distributions, or scaled versions thereof, for any particular stage of mining, longwall geometry or depth of overburden. A-Method-of-Determining-Longwall-Abutment-Load-Distributions-for-Roadway-and-Pillar-Design.pdf1.2 MB
  • A review of Recent in situ Stress Measurements in United Kingdom Coal Measures Strata

    The in-situ stress regime is recognised by United Kingdom coal mine operators as a significant design parameter related to efficient mine design. The results obtained from recent overcore stress measurements undertaken in Coal Measures strata are analysed and presented. A relationship has been deduced which relates the maximum horizontal stress to the depth and to the elastic properties of the rock. This relationship is considered more suitable for estimating the maximum horizontal stress magnitude in Coal Measures strata than existing methods based solely on the depth of cover. This study also indicates that all in-situ stress determinations in sedimentary strata should be quoted with the elastic properties of the test horizons. A-review-of-recent-in-situ-stress-measurements-in-United-Kingdom-Coal-Measures-strata.pdf2.1 MB
  • A Review of the Accuracy and Reliability of Empirical Subsidence Predictions

    The prediction of subsidence effects resulting from the underground extraction of coal is undertaken prior to commencing mining operations in order to assess the likely consequences and impacts of subsidence on the natural and built environment above and in the vicinity of the mining operations. Often subsidence predictions are also undertaken for many alternative mine layouts before the appropriate layout is chosen. These subsidence predictions are used by the mine owners, consultants and stakeholders to manage the subsidence impacts on the natural and built features by providing a basis to:
    • develop appropriate management plans; and
    • assess whether the observed subsidence movements are developing as expected.

    With a continuing increase in the awareness of and the need to protect the natural environment, and with an increasing need to extract coal beneath the built environment, there has also been an increasing demand for greater detail in the provided predictions and assessments of the effects, consequences and impacts of underground mining on the natural and built features. With this increased demand for greater detail, there must also be an understanding of the background to, and the accuracy and reliability of, the subsidence predictions that are being used for the impact assessments on the natural and built features and for the management plans developed.

    This paper provides a discussion on the background to the commonly used empirical methods of subsidence prediction in NSW and provides an assessment of the accuracy of two commonly used empirical subsidence prediction methods, using monitored data from the Southern Coalfield of NSW. A-Review-of-the-Accuracy-and-Reliability-of-Empirical-Subsidence-Predictions.pdf6.1 MB
  • Acoustic Scanner Analysis of Borehole Breakout to Define Stressfield Across Mine Sites in Sydney and Bowen Basins

    The role of horizontal stress, its orientation and magnitude, in defining the behaviour of strata in underground coal mines has been well established. Poor panel layouts have led to gate end stress concentrations, roof falls and lost production. The ability to define the horizontal stress regime over a mine site has historically been limited to point measurements, in part due to technology and cost. Recent advances in the application of geophysical tools, notably the acoustic scanner (borehole televiewer) have resulted in a new technique to conduct stress measurements. By quantifying the nature of borehole breakout and the mechanical properties of rocks in which they occur, this technique provides the ability to:
    • obtain a vastly greater number of measurements, both at different depths and spatial distribution, than other techniques such as overcoring or hydraulic fracturing
    • readily obtain depth versus stress relationships
    • define geotechnical domains on the basis of stress direction and in-situ stress magnitude for mine planning purposes

    This paper presents an overview of the technique and presents case
    histories in its application at a mine site in the Sydney Basin,
    Australia. Acoustic-Scanner-Analysis-of-Borehole-Breakout-to-Define-Stressfield-Across-Mine-Sites-in-Sydney-and-Bowen-Basins.pdf666 KB
  • An Investigation into Underground Mine Interaction with Overlying Aquifers Huntly, East Mine, New Zealand

    In recent years, Huntly East Mine has operated at a depth range of approximately 100 m to 220 m below a Quaternary aged clay, sand and silt aquifer that is connected to a nearby large river system (Waikato River). A key issue for mine planning and environmental management has been the development of mine design criteria to allow efficient mining of the reserves and to maintain the integrity of the aquifer.

    A case study and back analysis at Huntly East Mine is presented, which investigates the overburden conductivity and the impacts caused by mining-induced caving. The case study includes: i. computer modelling of the mine geometry, caving and overburden fracture networks created; ii. field investigation to develop an engineering geological model of the overburden within the goaf to validate the goaf geometry as defined by the computer generated model; iii. in situ field measurement of overburden conductivity in the pre- and post-mining condition; iv. interference testing across the goaf to determine the level of interconnectivity; and v. measured water pressure profiles above the mine. An-Investigation-into-Underground-Mine-Interaction-with-Overlying-Aquifers-Huntly-East-Mine-New-Zealand.pdf822 KB
  • Analytical Procedure to Estimate the Horizontal Anisotropy of Hydraulic Conductivity in Coal Seams

    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.pdf377 KB
  • Application of Computer Modelling in the Understanding of Caving and Induced Hydraulic Conudctivity About Longwall Panels

    Computer modelling is being used to simulate rock fracture, caving and stress redistribution about longwall panels with increasing confidence. The models are being assessed against field monitoring and have significantly increased the understanding of caving mechanics within the overburden. This paper discusses the modelling approach and provides some examples of its application to overburden damage and induced hydraulic conductivity. Computer models used in this study simulate the fracture process in the geological units throughout the overburden. Analysis of the mining induced fracture patterns and in situ joint patterns allows an estimation of the hydraulic conductivity within the overburden. The cubic flow relationship has been used in the examples presented. Application-of-Computer-Modelling-in-the-Understanding-of-Caving-and-Induced-Hydraulic-Conudctivity-About-Longwall-Panels.pdf271 KB
  • Applications of Hydraulic Fracturing to Control Caving Events in Coal Mines - The Moonee Experience

    Hydraulic fracturing involves the injection of high pressure fluid into a rock mass to form one or more fractures. Fractures are oriented perpendicular to the lowest principal stress acting at the time of injection. Hydraulic fractures can be extended considerable distances from one or more boreholes oriented in any convenient direction. The technique offers a method to control caving related phenomena such as inducement of caving, control of periodic weighting, initiation of first goaf fall, and preconditioning of longwall takeoff areas. This paper describes the successful application of hydraulic fracturing to control windblast hazard at Moonee Colliery and opportunities that emerge for other applications.

    Moonee Colliery extracts the lower 3m of the Great Northern seam using a 100m wide longwall panel. A 35m thick conglomerate strata immediately overlying the seam is able to temporarily bridge across the panel so that the goaf does not immediately cave.
    When the conglomerate strata does eventually fall, the bottom 10-15m collapses more or less as a single mass over an area 50-300m long by the full 100m panel width. The windblasts generated by these events present a very significant hazard to men working on the longwall face.

    Hydraulic fracturing has been successfully introduced at Moonee Colliery as a method to induce caving events “on demand”. The men are evacuated from the longwall face area prior to commencement of the hydraulic fracture treatment. After a treatment typically
    lasting 15 minutes to 2 hours, a goaf fall event is usually initiated and mining can be recommenced with the windblast hazard eliminated.

    The work at Moonee is believed to be the first successful use of hydraulic fracturing to induce caving events in Australia. Infusing water to weaken rock and small-scale hydraulic fracturing, ahead of or over longwall panels, has been tried previously in Australia and South Africa. Infusion is currently being used in China. Hydraulic fracturing has also been used in Poland to condition the roof over new panels and to modify the stiffness of rock around mine openings to reduce rock burst hazards. The application of hydraulic fracturing, described in this paper, to control the timing of caving events has not
    been used before.

    The technique also offers the potential to control periodic weighting events, induce caving at longwall startup, precondition pre-driven longwall take-off roads and take control of caving in other situations where it would be desirable to induce the goaf to cave. Application-of-Hydraulic-Fracturing-to-Control-Caving-Events-in-Coal-Mines.pdf1.1 MB
  • Building New Bridges on the Hunter Expressway over Abandoned Coal Mines

    The industrial development of our societies over the past century used coal as the main source of energy which was mined from deep underground seams leaving voids below the ground surface. New urban development and transportation networks planned to meet the demand of future generations require roads and bridges to be built over these historical mining areas. Substantial mine related ground movement has been observed at the surface level above mining areas where standing pillars have become destabilised as a result of rising water levels within the mine, earthquakes, adjacent mining activity and the effect of sustained load in its supports. Building new bridges in such areas is a challenge for engineers.

    This paper discusses the details of three prestressed concrete segmental balanced cantilever bridges having a combined total length of 850m with internal span lengths of 75m and pier heights varying up to 30m above the ground. Up to 500mm vertical and 450mm horizontal ground movements are predicted in the event of pillar instability in bord and pillar workings in the seams ranging from 65m to 170m below the surface. Ground treatment works have been undertaken to reduce the predicted vertical movements to 25mm while horizontal movements of 450mm remain to be considered in the design. The bridges have been articulated to accommodate the predicted ground movements due to mining subsidence. Various types of foundation have been adopted. Building-new-Bridges-on-Hunter-Expressway-over-Abandoned-Coal-Mines.pdf5.3 MB
  • Caving Induced by Hydraulic Fracturing at North Parkes Mine

    This paper describes the first use of hydraulic fracturing for cave inducement in a block caving mine. As of September 1999, several hundred hydraulic fracture treatments have been performed at Northparkes and are attributed with inducing about 7 million tonnes of ore to cave. Caving-Induced-by-Hydraulic-Fracturing-at-North-Parkes-Mine.pdf266 KB
  • Coal Pillar Design Issues in Longwall Mining

    Coal pillar design has been based on generalised formulae of the strength of the coal in a pillar and experience in localised situations. Stress measurements above and in coal pillars indicate that the actual strength and deformation of pillars varies much more than predicted by formulae. This variation is due to failure of strata surrounding coal. The pillar strength and deformation of the adjacent roadways is a function of failure in the coal and the strata about the coal.

    When the pillar is viewed as a system in which failure also occurs in the strata, rather than the coal only, the wide range of pillar strength characteristics found in the UK, USA, South Africa, Australia, China, Japan and other countries are simply variations due to different strata-coal combinations and not different coal strengths. This paper presents the measured range of pillar strength characteristics and explains the reasons. Methods to design pillar layouts with regard to the potential strength variations due to the strata strength characteristics surrounding the seam are presented. Coal-Pillar-Design-Issues-in-Longwall-Mining.pdf3.3 MB
  • Combining Modern Assessment Methods to Improve Understanding of Longwall Geomechanics

    Ongoing, collaborative research between CSIRO's Exploration and Mining and Strata Control Technology has resulted in a better understanding of rock failure mechanisms around longwall extraction. Failure has occurred further ahead of the retreating face than predicted by conventional longwall geomechanics theory. In some cases significant failure has been detected several hundred metres ahead of the face position with demonstrated influences of minor geological discontinuities. Shear, rather than tensile failure has been the predominant failure mechanism in the environments monitored. Validating technologies of microseismic monitoring and new face monitoring techniques have assisted the development of predictive 2D computational modelling tools. The demonstrated 3D consequences of failure has assisted in the ongoing direction of the project to further investigate these effects. Combining-modern-assessment-methods-to-improve-understanding-of-longwall-geomechanics.pdf2.9 MB
  • Computer Simulation of Ground Behaviour and Rock Bolt Interaction at Emerald Mine

    A collaborative project between RAG Emerald Mine, NIOSH, and SCT Operations was conducted to investigate ground behaviour, reinforcement performance, and stress redistribution in a coal mine entry subjected to a severe horizontal stress concentration. Field measurements indicated that the stresses applied to the study site nearly doubled during longwall mining, resulting in roof deformations extending to a height of 4.8 m (16 ft) above the entry.

    This paper focuses on the computer simulation that was undertaken to provide more insight into the roof behaviour and rock bolt interaction during mining. The model’s input rock properties were derived from extensive laboratory testing, and the model itself simulated a broad range of failure mechanisms. The effects of different bolt patterns on roadway behaviour were evaluated. Comparison between the model results and the field measurements indicated that that the model effectively simulated the critical elements of the actual roadway’s behaviour. With the confidence gained, the model was used as a baseline for additional simulations that evaluated the expected performance of alternative roof support systems. The study will also provide a benchmark data set for future applications of numerical modelling to U.S. coal underground mining. Computer-Simulation-of-Ground-Behaviour-and-Rock-Bolt-Interaction-at-Emerald-Minepdf697 KB
  • Connectivity of Mining Induced Fractures Below Longwall Panels A Modelling Approach

    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.pdf1.3 MB
  • Definition of Stress Regimes at Borehole Mine and Regional Scale in the Sydney Basin through Breakout Analysis

    The role of horizontal stress in affecting strata behaviour in underground coal mines has been well documented (Siddal and Gale1, Hebblewhite2, Mark3). In Australia, the nature and depth of the underground coal resources has resulted in high levels of horizontal stress, typically 2-3 times the vertical stress, and up to 9 times that expected by lithostatic burial. Horizontal stress impacts on all facets of strata behaviour, and is a fundamental input into the geotechnical design process.

    Borehole breakout analysis, particularly using high resolution acoustic scanner images, provides the ability to collect large data sets that have significant depth and spatial coverage. In real terms this provides the ability to investigate a range of stress phenomena at different scales, and assess the factors controlling in situ and mining induced stress regimes.

    This paper highlights a range of stress phenomena that have been observed through breakout analysis in the Sydney Basin and outlines the impact these have on underground mining operations. Definition-of-Stress-Regimes-at-Borehole-Mine-and-Regional-Scale-in-the-Sydney-Basin-through-Breakout-Analysis.pdf1.1 MB
  • Deformability Modulus of Jointed Rocks, Limitation of Empirical Methods and Introducing a New Analytical Approach

    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.pdf943 KB
  • Determination of Load Transfer Characteristics of Gloved Resin Bolts from Laboratory and In-Situ Field Testing

    Resin based grouts are the main form of rock bolt anchorage in the underground coal industry in Australia and New Zealand. To be effective, the system requires the mixing of the catalyst and mastic components of the resin, as well as shredding of the laminate cartridge that contains the resin.

    An unknown measure is the load transfer characteristics of a bolt where the resin is well mixed but remains encased in the cartridge (gloved). Laboratory and in situ field investigations have been undertaken to quantify the performance loss due to mixed gloved bolts. This work showed repeatable results, indicating serious performance loss of the gloved and mixed system, with load transfer approximately 10-15% of a non-gloved system (MacGregor, 2004).

    The in situ testing has demonstrated the relationship between the adhesion qualities of the resin and the mechanical interlock generated by radial confinement with progressively increasing tensile load. Effective load transfer is defined by the ability of the system to sustain shear stress on the bolt hole wall. Determination-of-Load-Transfer-Characteristics-of-Gloved-Resin-Bolts-from-Laboratory-and-In-Situ-Field-Testing.pdf1.3 MB
  • Developing Methods for Placing Sand Propped Hydraulic Fractures for Gas Drainage in the Bulli Seam

    BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal is seeking ways to significantly increase gas capture rates from in seam drilling programs in its underground coal mining operations. Hydraulic Fracture Technology (HFT), a joint venture between SCT Operations Pty Ltd and CSIRO Petroleum, is working with Illawarra Coal to develop the capability to enhance gas drainage rates in the Bulli Seam using sand-propped hydraulic fracturing based on HFT’s experience at Dartbrook Mine where gas drainage rates were increased by 5 to 180 times. One of the principal challenges for implementing sand-propped hydraulic fracturing in the Bulli Seam is the high vertical stresses that cause borehole breakout in horizontal holes drilled in coal. Borehole breakout effectively precludes the use of open hole straddle packers which are a convenient tool for placing multiple sand-propped hydraulic fractures in in-seam holes.

    Results of an initial six week trial undertaken at Douglas Project pit-bottom are described, which is aimed to developing the capability to install, grout and perforate casing so that straddle packers can be used for sand-propped hydraulic fracturing in overstressed boreholes. The primary goals of the pitbottom trial at Douglas were to confirm that horizontal boreholes in Bulli coal at 500 m overburden depth are overstressed and unsuitable for use of open hole straddle packers, and to establish a method for installing, cementing and slotting casing so that straddle packers can be used to place hydraulic fractures. Both these goals were successfully achieved. Developing-Methods-for-Placing-Sand-Propped-Hydraulic-Fractures-for-Gas-Drainage-in-the-Bulli-Seam.pdf738 KB
  • Development and Application of Strata Management in Coal Mines

    The continuing need to improve productivity and safety requires mine operators to both successfully manage the hazards associated with strata control whilst optimising mining practices. Recent experience in Australian coal and metalliferous mines has seen the introduction of legislation to ensure that adequate consideration is given to geotechnical design and strata control.

    This paper outlines a rational approach for the development of a Roadway Strata Management System that is based upon the systematic assessment of strata behaviour during all stages of a roadways use and describes its application by Strata Control
    Technology Pty. Ltd. at Ulan Coal Mines Limited. Development-and-Application-of-Strata-Management-in-Coal-Mines.pdf519 KB
Sign up for the latest white papers and product news