Innovative Tailgate Support For Heavy Ground: 11 Left Longwall Panel, Cyprus Shoshone Mine
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Jan 1, 1995
Cyprus Shoshone Mine uses the longwall method to extract a deep, thick, pitching coal seam in the Hanna Basin of South Central Wyoming. The immediate, and main roof rock consists of weak, thinly-bedded, silty mudstones with weak, interbedded fine-to medium-grained sandstone. Tailgate ground control has been a critical factor impacting productivity at the mine. A gateroad condition mapping program for the 11 left longwall gateroads indicated potentially severe ground control problems for the tailgate. It was predicted that the existing, secondary support pattern of wood cribs would not provide adequate support capacity. As predicted, severe deterioration of the tailgate occurred in the form of a roof cutter, sloughing ribs, and failing wood cribs. Productivity was affected and additional support was required. Shoshone personnel evaluated several options for providing the additional support needed in the tailgate. The additional support system and placement method had to satisfy several requirements with respect to access, materials handling, placement method, set-up time and support capacity. Approximately 6,000-ft. of deteriorating tailgate had to be supported. The initial wood crib support system left a 6-ft. walkway for access and construction of the additional support. This access was further reduced as the roof loaded the wood cribs. This eliminated the possibility of mechanized material handling to the construction locations. All materials would have to be transported by hand. The additional support system had to be placed quickly to stay ahead of, and keep pace with, the required longwall advance rate. It had to incorporate the existing wood cribs and provide at least 500 tons of extra support capacity. And most critically, the system could not affect longwall ventilation. Longwall coordinators and engineers made the decision to use a low density, pumpable cement known to the industry as TeksealTM, to provide the system required. A 200 psi ultimate strength mix was decided on to provide the required load capacity. The existing cribs were formed with 1-in. by 6-in. boards and brattice cloth to provide the containment. To overcome the access limitations, three boreholes were drilled from the surface to the tailgate on 2,000-ft centers. A mobile pumping station was established on the surface and the TeksealTM was pumped 900-ft. down the boreholes through a 1.5-in. steel pipe, then as much as 1,800- ft. along the tailgate entry through 1.25-in. miner spray hose. The materials required for the TeksealTM supports could all be carried into the construction locations by hand. As a direct result of incorporating relatively new methods of pumping high yield, low density, cementitious grouts, the Shoshone Mine reduced downtime due to tailgate ground control problems by approximately 70% in comparison with previous Longwall panels. The longwall set three monthly production records while mining the 11 left longwall under the deepest cover, steepest pitch, and most extreme ground control conditions ever encountered at the mine.