Pillar Collapse at Welgedacht Colliery, South Africa: A Case Study

Merwe, J. Nielen van der
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1999
During the process of pillar extraction at the Welgedacht Colliery, an unexpected pillar collapse resulted in the entrapment of equipment. The area was visited soon after the event to evaluate the stability of the area for the purposes of extracting the equipment. It was found that the area had stabilised sufficiently to allow work without undue risk to the safety of workers. The equipment was reclaimed successfully. A subsequent investigation into the reasons for the collapse was conducted. It entailed detailed underground and surface subsidence observations and numerical modeling. It was found that none of the perceived negative factors that were present at the time could result in pillar loads that were sufficient to cause the collapse. It was concluded that the local pillar strengths were less than the nationally used value and that they were possibly further reduced by aging.
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