Stooping Low Safety Factor Pillars At Goedehoop Colliery

Makusha, Gift
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2003
The Witbank Coalfield in South Africa contains up to five economically viable coal seams. These seams have been mined continuously for over 100 years and the reserve in now becoming depleted. The normal mining method has been bord and pillar with examples of stooping. The situation now occurs where the formed pillars, left to maintain stability, have a higher quality than the coal that is left in the unmined reserves. Where the reserves are less than 70m deep and continuous over several kilometers, opencast mining is being successfully applied. After several years of investigation, Anglo Coal has identified blocks of coal that warrant investigation with regard to pillar extraction by underground methods The proposed method is pillar extraction using Mobile Roof Supports (MRS) It is proposed to mine three panels at a depth of 120m, by keeping the panels narrow and sub-critical. The sub-critical layout does not allow caving to surface and more stress is thrown onto the barrier pillar rather than the face pillars. The sub-critical span is anticipated to be 100m. The paper describes the full geotechnical investigation, including numerical modelling, instrumentation and drawing on the local South African experience of shortwall mining. The project will be unique in that pillars were not designed for pillar extraction and have low factors of safety (l.4 - 1.8) and width to height ratios of less than 4. The mining height will be approximately 4-4 5m, and this represents "new" operating heights for Mining Roof Supports. The required equipment was ordered in late 2002 and pillar extraction is anticipated to begin in June 2003.
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