Preventing Falls Of Ground In Coal Mines With Exceptionally Low-Strength Roof: Two Case Studies

Mark, Christopher
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 8
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
Mines with exceptionally low-strength roof (UCS <3,500 psi and CMRR <40) are much more likely to struggle with roof falls than other mines. Weak-roof is a particular problem for many room and pillar mines in the Midwestern and Northern Appalachian coal basins. Traditional roof support techniques are often not up to the challenge at these operations. This paper focuses on two mines, one operating in the Upper Freeport seam and the other in the Herrin No. 6 seam. Together, the two mines had more than 300 roof falls during a recent 5 year period. Each has experimented with a variety of roof bolt types and lengths, and with different supplemental supports. Detailed statistical analysis was conducted to determine which support combinations have proven to be most effective. Geology, horizontal stress, and time are also important at both mines. Successful control techniques have included; ? Identifying particularly troublesome lithologic roof units; ? Installing longer and stronger roof bolts; ? Installing supplemental support in intersections, and; ? Limiting the duration that a panel remains open. The lessons learned from these mines, and others like them, could help improve ground control safety for the entire U.S. mining industry.
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