Geotechnical Investigation For A Single Entry Design For Longwall Mining
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Jan 1, 1982
Currently longwall coal mining operations require at least 3 entries on both the headgate and tailgate ends because of ventilation and safety requirements. Driving of entries, however, is a slow and costly process. Often it is a bottleneck in longwall development. Single entry gateroads are permitted in Europe and commonly used there. This study entailed ascertaining the feasibility of using a single entry in the United States, without sacrificing safety. This design was conducted for an operating longwall mine in the Black Warrior coalfield in Alabama, An understanding of rock loads and consequent support requirements is prerequisite to the design and successful demonstration of the single entry system. Efforts in this regard were directed at determining center (packwall) support requirements for various single entry widths. Critical to the analysis is knowledge of the nature and extent of side abutment stresses. In collecting geological and geotechnical information relating to the stability of the single entry, Engineers International, Inc. engaged in the following: ? Examination and inspection of the single entry demonstration at the Sunnyside Mine in Utah. Severe ground conditions and unacceptable levels of entry closure were experienced there prior to the tailgate phase. Observations at the mine presented a clear perspective on possible ground control problems for future single entry designs. ? Reconnaissance inspection and classification of roof rock conditions. ? Detailed mapping of roof structure in the areas to be instrumented. ? Installation of convergence stations in the longwall headgate to monitor roof movement during mining. ? Measurement of side abutment stresses in a yield pillar in the area of the convergence measurements. ? Measurements of coal fracture distribution by the detail area method. ? Rock properties determinations of roof, coal, and floor rocks; samples obtained by core drilling. ? Determination of floor bearing capacity by in-situ testing.