Strata Disturbance Prediction For Mining Beneath Surface Water And Waste Impoundments

Singh, Madan M.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 14
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1981
Mining under bodies of water such as oceans, lakes, rivers, streams, ponds, and other impoundments, is not a new technique. However, in the United States it has been fairly restricted to date. In order to recover the maximum amount of the nation's reserves, in the future, it is important that further mining under such bodies of water be planned. However, it is imperative that this is not done at the expense of danger to the nation's miners or appreciable property damage. If all the bodies of water are considered large, and it is assumed that these constitute a hazard when mining in their vicinity irrespective of their size and geometry, a significant percentage of the coal reserves are likely to be sterilized. How- ever, by adopting special mining plans and procedures, it may be possible to release reserves for exploitation that would otherwise be unmineable since the surface of bodies of water below which they lie are relatively small in size. In 1977, the Bureau of Mines issued Information Circular (IC) 8741, entitled "Results of Research to Develop Guidelines for Mining Near Surface and Underground Bodies of Water". This document was based on the work done by Skelly and Loy (under Contract No. H0252083) and K. Wardell and Partners (under Contract No. H0252021). How ever, these guidelines have limited application, because these did not (1) define the bodies of water of concern, and (2) take into account the nature of the strata being encountered. These guidelines assumed that all bodies of water which would be undermined were large. For the purposes of this discussion, water bodies may be divided into three categories, depending upon their potential to cause damage to the underlying mining activity: ? catastrophic ? major ? limited Bodies of water which pose the threat of catastrophic destruction in the mine, should there be an inrush, include oceans, large lakes, big inland reservoirs, and rivers that could flood the mine complete- ly in a short period. Those with major potential for damage would include lakes and streams which might present a danger to both life and property if not considered in the mining plans. Finite bodies of water which have a volume considerably smaller than the mine volume offer a limited potential for damage in the case of an inrush. These include flowing streams which have a relatively small rate of replenishment and which can be dealt with by pumping or isolation in the event of a breakthrough into the mine. Such bodies of water may be inconvenient and cause a temporary disruption of production, and could even cause some damage to equipment, but only in rare instances would personal injuries occur. The scope of this paper is limited to the exploitation of stratified mineral deposits with overlying -face bodies of water. Vein and dessiminate ore deposits are not discussed, nor are breakthroughs into adjacent mines in the same horizon. Overlying, water-logged strata also pose a serious threat to mining, but are not treated in this discussion. Pending further investigation these strata may be considered as bodies of water with catastrophic potential for damage, with the base of the strata being considered the bottom of the water body. When the body of water is large, so that it may cause catastrophic damage to the mine in the event of an inrush, the guidelines suggested in IC 8741 are applicable. In order to develop criteria and procedures for mining under smaller bodies of water, however, it is necessary that the nature of the strata disturbance due to underground mining be examined.
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