A Step Towards Understanding The Behaviour Of Wider Roadways In South African Collieries

Quaye, George B.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2001
Conventionally, roadways in South African collieries are 6 to 7 m wide. This dimension is chosen so as to allow maneuvrability of appropriate mine machinery and equipment, to meet production requirements and to ensure roof stability. Over the last two decades, a great deal of research effort has been expended to understand the behaviour of roadways in different strata within this width range. The results have improved the understanding of the strata behaviour to such an extent that 6 m wide roadways are developed with a high degree of confidence. With the advancement of technology and the quest to mine at a lower cost, some mines in South Africa have started considering the benefits of other types of mine machinery that will require much wider roadways to ensure optimum productivity. The roadways required will have to be about 10 - 14 m wide. The challenge confronting these coal mining companies is the potential instability that might be associated with such wide roadways. This dilemma is aggravated by the fact that, apart from theory, nothing is known about the expected behaviour of such wide roadways. This led to experimentation at a selected site in a South African coal mine where 10 m and 14 m wide roadways were developed and monitored. This paper highlights the experimental procedure adopted, discusses the results obtained, compares the prediction of elastic theory to reality and set the precedence towards understanding the behaviour of wider roadways in South Africa.
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