Developments In Controlling The Roof In South African Coal Mines - A Smarter Approach

Altounyan, P.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2001
Techniques used to safely control the roof in UK coal mines for some 10 years have been applied to a South African coal mine. This new approach known in the UK as advanced rockbolting technology, is based on applying four fundamental principles: ?Understanding the roof failure mechanisms ?Using an effective roof support system ?Designing this support using measurement ?Monitoring the performance of the system. The paper summarizes the approach in detail and describes how it is being applied by Anglo Coal, giving results obtained to date. Investigations at a number of South African coal mines, including stress measurements at two Anglo Coal mines, have confirmed that the mode of roof failure (lateral shearing due to horizontal stress) is the same as in other coalfields worldwide, and aspects of current world best practice, including the use of advanced technology rockbolting, are therefore relevant in South Africa. The stress measurements indicated a high level of stress field anisotropy and further investigation of stress conditions in South African coal mines is recommended. The most effective bolting system to resist shear failure is one with high bond strength and stiffness. Short encapsulation pull testing of existing South African systems confirmed that they have low bond strength and stiffness. An improved rockbolt system with the required performance, and features allowing rapid installation and installation quality and performance audit, has been developed and is currently under full-scale trial. Design by measurement and routine monitoring procedures including the use of a rotary telltale device are also under trial. It is anticipated that South African coal mines will be able to obtain significant safety and productivity benefits from the application of this technology.
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