A System to Provide Early Warning on Impending Goaf

Makusha, Gift
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 5
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2005
Total extraction mining of coal is being undertaken on a small scale by Anglo Coal South Africa. Longwall mining has been done in the group at New Denmark colliery since the 80s and recently the company started experimenting with pillar mining at Goedehoop colliery. Total extraction mining methods result in caving of the overburden strata that is often accompanied by displacement of air causing wind blasts. The windblasts can cause injuries to underground mining personnel, damage to mining equipment, and ventilation disruptions. Some incidents of windblast damage and injuries have been recorded at both New Denmark and Goedehoop Colliery that prompted mine management to experiment with the goaf warning device, an instrument developed by CSIR mining technology to give early warning of impending god. The initial version of the Goafwarn was originally developed to operate as a stand-alone unit, with LED lights mounted on the device that would flash if the unit was triggered'. That set up would be effective in small working areas where the flashing lights are visible to all workers. This requirement is more difficult to satisfy in longwall application of the unit where mining activities are spread over large linear distances of up to 250 m and the flashing lights would not be visible to all workers in the longwall face. It was also found that the single unit had limitations in distinguishing between man made vibrations and cracking in rockmass leading to an unacceptably high incidence of false alarms. The case studies describe the experiments that were carried out to ameliorate the two issues mentioned above through networking more than one unit. This was achieved through the development of radio communication from the warning devices to a central control (Trollex Data Acquisition Unit) from which the alarms are issued once the prescribed triggers are satisfied. The operating system was made up of 4 Goafwarn units installed 30 m apart with 2 in the tailgate and other 2 in the main gate. The alarm state was defined where 3 or more units were triggered simultaneously. The concept was applied successfully in real time during longwall mining, and management procedures have been developed to achieve safety through the system including switching off the shearer, and flicking the lights to warn people.
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