Roof Falls And Caving In Longwall Mining Operations
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Jan 1, 1982
Since the introduction of longwall systems, the prediction of roof behavior and support requirements have become the major issue referring directly to safety as well as productivity. In more recent times, and especially in the USA where longwalls are exclusively equipped with costly hydraulic self- propelled support systems, a decision whether a longwall is applicable in a given condition, and when so, what kind of equipment should be selected, is of primary importance. There are numerous examples where lack of experience, and subsequently wrong selection of supports or winning machines, resulted in considerable losses. It should be emphasized that careful studies of prevailing geological and mining conditions, especially in a new area, are required to assure a successful operation. An evaluation of the conditions can be carried out in different ways utilizing such methods as: - Theoretical approach. applicable when geological conditions comply with the theoretical assumptions. - Empirical relationship which gives satisfactory results where the coefficients could be adequately determined. - Structural geological studies which must be undertaken in all cases, since the frequency of fractures and their orientation have a prevailing influence on roof behavior. - Scale model study on equivalent material for determination of failure conditions in the roof and mechanism of movement (flow) of broken rock matter. Coefficients for empirical formulas can be determined by these types of studies, as can boundary limits for mathematical modeling. - Mathematical modeling, e.g., finite element analysis. - Measurements and observations taken underground during the development period end utilization of experience for previous longwall panels in the area. Usually it is the most practical method where mining and geological conditions are comparable. An application of me or more of the above approaches remains to be a matter of judgement for particular conditions, however, the utilization of a practical experience, when available, is usually the safest way for planning a successful longwall operation.