Coal Pillar Extraction Experiences In New South Wales
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Jan 1, 2002
New South Wales has a successful history of pillar extraction stretching back more than 60 years. Various methods of pillar extraction ranging from the rib pillar methods (such as the Wongawilli system) to the more recent pillar stripping techniques (similar to those used in the USA) are discussed in this paper. These discussions are based on the experiences of the author stemming from a recent research tour of seven underground pillar extraction operations in New South Wales as part of the Coaltech 2020 collaborative research initiative. Some operational issues of each site visited are presented before some general comments pertaining to the overall success of pillar extraction in New South Wales are discussed. Generally pillar extraction in New South Wales is on the decline in favour of longwalling. However, the pillar extraction that is conducted is done so along specific guidelines to ensure their success, and these are also discussed.