Development And Demonstration Of An Alternate Mining Geometry For Improved Ground Control In An Illinois Coal Mine

Chugh, Y. P.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
About 60-70% of the underground mined coal in Illinois is extracted using a room-and-pillar mining method that permits extraction of about 50% of the coal. The remaining coal is left behind in the form of support pillars to control surface and subsurface movements. Illinois coal seams are typically associated with water sensitive weak floor strata whose thickness varies 0.31 - 1.3 m. The current mining geometry mostly uses pillars of constant size within a mining area. This traditional practice suffers from the disadvantage that pillars within the center region are subject to much higher loads than the pillars located on the outer edges of the panel. This results in a higher incidence of rib spalling, and roof falls, creating a potentially hazardous work environment. In addition, this concentration of loading at the center of the panel provides initiation points for floor failure to occur. The primary goal of this study was to reduce ground control problems and production costs in Illinois mines by considering alternate mining geometries. The development and subsequent field demonstration of an alternate geometry is presented in this paper.
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