Pre-Driven Experimental Longwall Recovery Room Under Weak Roof Conditions - Design, Implementation, and Evaluation

Tadolini, Stephen
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2002
Reduction in the time required and improvements in safety during a longwall face move have compelled coal mine operators to examine and use pre-driven longwall recovery rooms. While this concept is not without controversy and risk, the rewards can result in substantial reductions in longwall face move/set-up times and provide safer working conditions. Both of these factors can reduce mining costs and enhance profitability in a competitive market. This project was even more complex because the longwall system operates under a weak roof condition. To examine the feasibility of this concept, a 16-ft wide by 170-ft long experimental pre-driven recovery room was designed using analytical, empirical and 3-dimensional finite element modeling techniques. Based on the projected loading conditions, immediate and main roof geological and strength characteristics, a variety of roof bolt types were selected and installed in the recovery room and adjacent chutes. To supplement the intrinsic supports, high-capacity roof-to¬floor cuttable cribs were strategically placed to reduce the potential of a weighting failure before the longwall shields safely entered the room. To evaluate the behavior and final support performance, the recovery room and chutes were instrumented to monitor the physical response during various loading phases. Additionally, the cuttable cribs were instrumented to evaluate the loading and stiffness characteristics during the extraction process. This paper describes the successful design process, support methodology, monitoring results, final observations and recommendations.
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