Stooping Low Safety Factor Pillars at Goedehoop Colliery - 12 Months Later

Makusha, Gift
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
Pre-feasibility work at Goedehoop Colliery indicated that stooping of the undersized pillars could be undertaken safely and economically. In light of the findings a decision was taken in may 2003 to undertake the project in the 600 area where three panels (628, 630 and 632) were identified for pilot test sites. The findings of the pre-feasibility studies were presented in a paper to the 22nd International Conference on Ground Control in Mining held at Morgantown in 2003 (1). This paper is a progress report for the project 12 months down the line. Work commenced to prepare the sites for mining including, acquisition of equipment, equipping the panels, selecting and training people to undertake the project. Three monitoring sites were set up distributed evenly along panel 628. Each site comprised of a surface extensometer station in the overburden strata adjacent to a pillar underground containing hard inclusion vibrating wire extensometer cells. This combination would be used to record pillar loading ahead of stooping as well as the depth of caving and strata deformation in the goal zone behind the stooping face. In July 2003, support work began to secure the roof and rib sides. The support was required to be at least three-pillar center distances ahead of the mining front to ensure that the effective stooping zone is secured at all times. The NEVID method of pillar extraction developed at Sasol and described in detail by Ismet and Moolman (2) in a Coaltech 20-20 report was adopted for the pilot project. As part of training the selected stooping team was send for a week to Sasol's Bosmanskrans Colliery to familiarize with the NEVID method of stooping. Further training sessions were carried out on site especially on the use of Mobile Roof supports. The first cut was taken on 20 August 2003 by implementing a form of chequerbord mining taking every second row of pillars. Three rows were mined this way which period was considered training to get workers familiar with the new equipment and mining method. On the fourth row the full design span equivalent to mining 4 pillars in a row was implemented taking out all the pillars in successive rows. Production figures gradually increased from 300 to more than 1,000 tons run of mine coal per shift. Panel 628 was mined out at the end of December 2003 and the second of three panels (630) is being mined. Substantial data from the monitoring set up has been recorded since the start of the project. Monitoring will continue to the end of the pilot project and the data will be analysed and fed back into the design tools to improve the design in future undertakings. The pilot project has been a success so far and other old workings are being evaluated for stooping.
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