Microseismic Monitoring In The Sydney Coalfield
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Jan 1, 1994
Between 1977 and 1984, No. 26 Colliery, at Glace Bay in the Sydney Coalfield, suffered from a series of 37 rock/gas outbursts. These events were characterized by the complete pulverization of a sandstone which was propelled into the mine roadway and an associated release of methane gas. The events began to appear at a depth of 700 m and increased in intensity and damage to the excavation as the mining depth increased. At the time of the closure of No. 26 Colliery (as a result of an unrelated fire), these outbursts were the subject of intensive investigation. Although No. 26 is now closed, there is concern that similar events could appear at Phalen Colliery where current development work is proceeding at a depth close to the 700 m threshold. Past investigations into rock/gas outbursts included studies of in situ stresses, the simulation of outburst events in the laboratory, investigations into the potential for destressing an& degassing of problem sandstone and the development of numerical models to assist in the design of openings in outburst prone ground. However, despite this work, methods of predicting outburst conditions are presently limited to examination of probe hole cores for core discing, and methods of working under such conditions are limited to boring and firing and using volley firing techniques to initiate any outbursts while workers are safely out of the heading. During this investigation of worldwide occurrences of this phenomena, literature obtained suggested that outbursts might generate microseismic precursors. An intrinsically safe (IS) microseismic monitoring system was designed and developed based on CANMET's rockburst monitoring system currently in use in hardrock mines, and installed in a development roadway at the deepest extent of the Phalen Colliery. The system will record microseismic activity associated with development work to try to identify characteristic precursors of outburst-prone conditions. This paper describes the steps taken to identify a microseismic system suitable for use at Phalen colliery, of which part of the requirement was that it be IS and approved for use in the Sydney Coalfield. The modifications to the selected system are described, along with its capabilities and the preliminary results of its performance over the first few months of use.