Mitigation of a Massive Sandstone Channel?s Impact on Longwall Face Evaluation and Enhancement of Hydraulic Fracturing Technique

Lu, Jun
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 6
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2014
This paper presents the evaluation, enhancement and comparison of two hydraulic fracturing techniques which were employed to mitigate the impact of a massive sandstone channel on two successive longwall faces. The hydraulic fracturing technique and Longwall Visual Analysis (LVA) software were initially employed to mitigate the impact of thick, massive sandstoneroof during mining of longwall Panel 21. Improved longwall face conditions and productivity were observed as Panel 21 mined through the sandstone channel. However, moderate sandstone fractures and falls at the face were still present in areas where hydraulic fracture influence was not present. Such adverse conditions caused two to three weeks of production delays due to large face cavities, jammed face conveyor and subsequent face gluing. Based on the mining experience in Panel 21, and site-specific roof geology in Panel 22, a modified and more effective hydraulic fracturing program was employed. Fewer well-placed holes were drilled, and larger volume of water was pumped into each hole in order to propagate the individual horizontal pancake fractures over a larger area, thereby enhancing caving and relieving face pressure caused by overhang of the massive sandstone. Longwall Visual Analysis (LVA) software was also employed at Panel 22 to predict the cavity risk index and guide the longwall face crew in double-pulling shields behind the shearer drum. This helped to reduce the tip-to-face distance at the critical spots along the longwall face, which helped mitigate the formation of the roof cavities and failure of massive sandstone onto the face conveyor. Underground observations, face advance rate and face rock delay analysis confirmed that longwall face conditions and advance rate in Panel 22were significantly improved compared to those of Panel 21. Consequently, safety and productivity were improved.
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