Challenges of Room and Pillar Mining at 900 M Depths in the Czech Republic

Schloemer, William J.
Organization: International Conference on Ground Control in Mining
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2014
INTRODUCTION The history of coal mining the Ostrava Region of the Czech Republic goes back nearly 250 years. Both coking coal for steelmaking and thermal coal for the production of energy are mined here; however, it was the coking capabilities that subsequently turned the region into a major steel-producing area in the early 1800?s, something that continues to this day. Ostrava lies in the northeast corner of the Czech Republic, near the southern border of Poland, and falls within the Upper Silesian Coal Basin. The region contains over 400 seams of coal of which about 150 have been mined over its history and continue to be mined. Eighty percent of the Upper Silesian coalfieldlies in Poland and is presently mined by about 35 coal mines; the remaining 20% falls in the Czech Republic, which presently has four mines operated by OKD, a.s., a subsidiary of Amsterdam-based New World Resources. Traditionally, all the mines in this region have employed the longwall method of mining, of which subsidence is an unavoidable consequence. In fact, due to the long history of longwall mining here, there are areas where the overall subsidence has exceeded 37 meters (121 feet). The region is fairly densely populated with residences and industry, and a considerable amount of coal lies under some of these areas where subsidence is not allowed or has to be minimized. It is this reason that has driven OKD to consider alternate methods of mining that will not create subsidence. The decision was made to consider the room and pillar method of mining in order to leave stable pillars of coal to support the surface. After considering several locations, OKD chose the shaft safety pillar at the CSM mine as a test mining location. To say the least, this is a very challenging location in which to conduct a test. As with the entire region, there are many faults from tectonic activity, the seams are pitching at 12 to 20 degrees, the area is affected by high horizontal stress, and the depth of 750 to 900 meters is perhaps the deepest room and pillar coal mining ever attempted.
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