Violent Coal Pillar Collapse -A Case Study

Zingano, André
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
Pillar collapses have been studied for several years and can be classified into two types: nonviolent squeeze or violent pillar collapse, i.e., controlled or uncontrolled pillar collapse. Underground coal mines in Brazil are considered shallow mines, because the overburden thickness varies between 20 and 400 meters. For this reason, the coal pillars should be designed as permanent pillars to avoid subsidence and groundwater problems. In the last two years, various pillar collapses occurred, one being a violent collapse and the others being squeeze collapses. All these collapses were considered massive pillar collapses because many pillars were involved. In the violent pillar collapse case, the width¬to-height (w/h) ratio was less than three; although, the pillar safety factor (SF) was more than 1.3. There was a collapse of about 100 pillars in less than three hours. The objective of this study is to determine the mechanism of pillar collapse for this violent pillar collapse. Convergence monitoring and numerical modeling were applied to combine field data and theory to simulate the pillar collapse. Convergence field measurements introduce the arc-effect behavior for the roof. The results showed that other factors besides pillar geometry caused the pillar failure. Other parameters, mainly dip of the coal seam and presence of fractures and faults may affect the strength and failure mechanism of a pillar.
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