Gateroad Pillar Extraction Experience at Jim Walter Resources

Hendon, Gregory
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1998
Jim Walter Resources, Inc. (JWR), has successfully longwall mined for many years at depths ranging from 1200'-2500'. However, full pillar extraction has proven difficult and generally economically unfeasible. Overburden and redistributed stresses at these depths require relatively large pillars, which become unmanageable with most pillar extraction practices. The economic benefits of taking gateroad pillars as part of a longwall face have been recognized for some time, including increased life of mine recovery, elimination of belt moves, reduced overcast requirements, and improved longwall to continuous miner ratios. Until recently, the associated risks of pulling pillars prevented any extensive use of this concept at JWR. Due to geological, economic, and longwall repeatability problems, JWR accepted the risks, and undertook pillar extractions with longwall faces in several different applications. The applications included taking a stable pillar (250' wide) as a longwall panel, taking yield pillars on the headgate and tailgate of panels, taking yield pillars and stable pillars in the middle of a panel, mining through chain pillars in the middle of a panel, and taking a support pillar on the tailgate end of a panel. This paper describes the background and experience of pillar extraction with longwalls at JWR.
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