Coal Pillar Life Prediction in the Vaal Basin, South Africa

Van der Merwe, J. Nielen
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1998
This investigation was done to develop a method to predict the lie of coal pillars. It has long since been known that coal pillars deteriorate over time, but there was no method to quantify the deterioration. It was found that the rate of pillar deterioration was essentially a function of two parameters, namely mining height and time. The higher the mining height, the more rapidly the pillars deteriorated. The rate of deterioration is not constant, but decreases exponentially with time. The pillar life should be viewed in conjunction with the safety factor. While the relationship between safety factor and pillar life is ambiguous, the trend is nonetheless for higher safety factor pillars to have longer lives. The safety factor can be used to quantify a failure probability. The pillar life prediction indicates when the pillars which are predicted to fail, can be expected to do so.
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