Highwall Augering In Ultra-Thick Western Coal Reserves: Unique Geotechnical And Operational Challenges

Ross, Timothy
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1999
The Pittsburg & Midway Coal Mining Co.'s Kemmerer Mine is one of the deepest surface coal operations in the world, with the highwall extending to approximately 1,000 ft above the pit floor. To increase recovery, auger mining is being evaluated beneath the highwalls of several seams representing the current economic limit of pit development. The primary augered seam is over 50 ft thick, can approach 100 ft thick, and dips into the highwall at an average of 17 degrees. The seam thickness and dip present many geotechnical design and operational challenges for multiple Sup to five) lift augering. This paper presents the design criteria and methodology applied to determine appropriate web and septum thicknesses for the various cover depths anticipated, as well as operational measures that can be taken to increase overall coal recovery. The primary tool used in the design was the finite difference code FLAG. Models incorporating typical strata sequences associated with the coal seam were run at several different cover depths corresponding to the maximum anticipated auger penetration. Web and septum thicknesses were varied until the minimum thickness satisfying a given safety factor criterion was determined. Using this procedure, design curves were developed for web and septum thickness versus cover depth. Operationally, several recommendations were developed to ensure that overall coal recovery is maximized. By angering across the scam dip, auger penetration per hole can he increased dramatically, and by carefully planning maximum planned auger penetration versus hole spacing, increased coal recovery can be safely attained.
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