Ground Control Design Considerations for Reducing Longwall?Induced Stress and Seismicity Associated with Massive Sandstone under Deep Cover

Su, Daniel W.H.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2014
Thick, massive sandstone present in close proximity of the mining horizon can create difficult longwall caving issues, which may lead to severe face loading and subsequent face roof control problems. Under deep cover, such delayed caving and overhang not only impose additional loading on the gate road pillar system, but they also increase the potential for large seismic events. Such a combination of thick, massive sandstone geology and deep cover was present over a portion of a southwestern Virginia coal mine, which was confirmed via detailed in-mine roof scoping and mapping. Large seismic events were recorded over a district of 1,000-foot-wide longwall panels. This paper presents the ground control design changes implemented to reduce longwall-induced stresses in the sandstone, to reduce longwall abutment pressures in the gate road pillars, and to reduce the magnitude of mining-induced seismic events. A series of two-dimensional finite element models were constructed and analyzed to evaluate the longwall-induced stresses in the sandstone above the gate road pillars and the abutment pressures within the gate road pillars. Results from the analyses indicated that reducing the panel width from 1,000 to 700 feet reduced the longwall-induced stresses in the sandstone by a factor of 2.0. Specifically the probability of sandstone stability improved from 29% for the 1,000-foot-wide panel district to over 95% for the 700-foot-wide panel districts. Also, the subcritical 700-foot-wide panel, coupled with a change in pillar design, considerably reduced the longwall-induced abutment pressures in the gate road pillars, which significantly increased the gate road pillar stability factor. Surface subsidence measurements conducted over the 1,000-foot-wide panel district and two new 700-foot-wide panel districts were in very good agreement with those predicted by the finite element models. In addition, results from the models indicated that wider panels with a smaller district may produce the same probability of sandstone stability. One four-panel district and one five-panel district with the new ground control design changes have been mined successfully. The panel width was found to be the most influential factor in determining the longwall-induced stresses in the sandstone and in the gate road pillars. The thickness and massive nature of the sandstone, the proximity of the sandstone, and the strength of the sandstone were also found to be important factors. Seismic monitoring over the two mining districts that employed 700-foot-wide panels confirmed the reduction of one order of seismic magnitude when compared with those measured over the 1,000-foot-wide panel district.
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