Implication of Highly Anisotropic Horizontal Stresses on Entry Stability at the West Elk Mine, Somerset, Colorado

Agapito, J. F. T.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2005
Overcore measurements at the North Fork Valley (NFV) coal mines in western Colorado have shown that horizontal stresses are highly anisotropic. Measurements have been made in four mines at various depths. In many measurements, the maximum horizontal stress is three to four times higher than the minor horizontal stress. At the West Elk Mine, maximum and minimum horizontal stresses of 24 MPa and 6 MPa, respectively, have been measured at depths of 640 meters (m). Under highly anisotropic stress conditions, ground control problems associated with both high and low horizontal stresses can develop. While high horizontal stresses can produce cutter failures and floor heave, low horizontal stresses can allow block fallouts. This paper summarizes the horizontal stress measurements in NFV mines and, in particular, in the West Elk Mine where their role in roof fall and floor heave failures is discussed. This experience has led to an improved use of ground support and safer mining operations at depths of 640 to 700 m.
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