Improving Roof Control At A South African Coal Mine

Bugden, Alan
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2001
Goedehoop Colliery produces 8 million tonnes of coal a year, principally from room and pillar mining, and is situated in the Witbank Coalfield in the Republic of South Africa. The mine has a long and successful record of producing export quality coal from the 2,4 and 5 seams at depths ranging from 20 to 100 metres using modem mining equipment. Following a number of fatalities caused by large and unexplained roof falls in roadways and intersections of supported ground, a review of the roof control system at Goedehoop was carried out. This led in turn to a programme of underground measurements and surveys. This included detailed investigation of the roof falls, horizontal stress mapping, stress measurement and short encapsulation pull testing on roofbolts. These investigations led to a number of important conclusions in relation to the state of stress in the ground, the roof failure mechanisms, standard of rootbolt installation and performance of the roofbolt system. As a result of the work Goedehoop Colliery has made a number of substantive changes to the roof control management system at the mine. These include: 1. A recognition of the importance of horizontal stress as the main factor responsible for roof falls. 2 The forward planning of roof support based on known features which cause the stresses to be elevated. 3. The introduction of a more effective roofbolt system, which can be more easily installed to a high standard. 4. A response system based on risk assessment and monitoring roof movement on a routine basis. The paper describes the knowledge acquired, the conclusions drawn, the changes made and progress to date.
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