Room-and-Pillar Method of Open- Stope Mining - Study of Interrelationships and Constraints in Underground Coal Mining by Room-and-Pillar Methods

Manula, C. B. ; Suboleski, Stanley C.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 18
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1982
INTRODUCTION In any mining operation all possible steps should be taken to increase efficiency. One area for improvement is mine planning and design, particularly in the area of equipment selection for room-and-pillar systems. Be- cause of the availability of a wide variety of face machines, a fair degree of selectivity can be exercised in the choice of equipment for a particular job. However, this choice must be made on the basis of quantitative facts and forecasts related to the mining application. The purpose of this section is to develop and analyze the details of the mining process. Some specific areas studied include the relationship of system design to productivity, suboptimization as a result of equipment changes, and measurement of system performance. The plan of work leading to a quantitative description of these study areas is based on the growing interest in total system design using simulation as an analytical method (Manula, 1963). CHARACTERISTICS OF PRODUCTION OPERATIONS FROM ROOM-AND-PILLAR SECTIONS For a given mining method, raw production in a given section of a mine is primarily dependent upon the coal seam thickness, roof and floor conditions, methane emission, the mining methods, and the man-machine element. Average section production varies from 300 to 800 st per shift for conventional and continuous mining in high seams and from less than 100 to 300 st per shift in low seams. Since the reject varies from 0 to 40%, these figures must be decreased by the appropriate percentage to reflect the amount of clean coal mined. Personnel requirements per production section per shift for the various methods are listed in Table 1. Table 1. Production Personnel Method No. Method No. Conventional 12-1 5 Longwall 9-14 Continuous 9-1 2 Shortwall 9-12 MINING VARIABLES To evaluate the constraints and interrelationships for various mining methods, it is necessary to categorize the variables which underlie system production potential. Seven critical independent variables which determine production can be identified and categorized (Suboleski, 1978) : Seam Height The five categories are as follows: less than 36 in.;. 36 to 55 in.; 55 to 100 in.; 100 to 180 in.; and greater than 180 in. Floor Quality Floor quality ranges from : Excellent: Smooth, hard, grades less than 1 to 1 % % , and dry. Good: Smooth, soft but dry, with grades less than 3 % . The floor will deteriorate, but cautious operation can prevent it. There may possibly be heaving at some later time. Fair. Soft and damp. There is occasional interference with equipment operation; requires the use of four-wheel drive shuttle cars; ruts with regular use, and may have adverse grades of 5 to 7%. This may be coupled with slippery bottom and/or occasional steep rolls. Poor: Soft and wet. Requires blocking of the bottom to support equipment. There are frequent steep rolls and grades in excess of 7%. Roof Quality Roof quality ranges from : Excellent: Men are able to work under the unsupported top during the initial production cycle if legally permitted. Good: The roof is bolted on a 4 x 4 or 5 x 5 pattern with short bolts (442 in.) or 42 in., or requires posting with no bolts on a 4 x 4 or 5 x 5 pattern. There are no falls. Average: The roof is normally bolted on a 4 x 4 or 5 x 5 pattern, but with long bolts (>seam height or >6 ft.). There are infrequent minor falls or there may be an excellent roof which is difficult to drill. Fair: This type often requires spot bolting in addition to the regular pattern or bolting with planks. The roof conditions require shorter than planned cuts, or narrow cuts. Poor: This type requires bolts plus crossbars and posts, or installation of yielding supports or truss-type support. It is almost certain to fall if this is not done. Methane Liberation This ranges from none detected to low (no buildup at the face, even with minimum ventilation requirements) to moderate (the curtains must be extremely tight and tubing close to the face or methane will build up to 1 % during the loading of the car) to high (methane will build up to 170 if the miner is operated at the normal rate, even with proper ventilation). Hardness of Coal Coal hardness falls into the following categories: Soft: Soft coal is easily cut by a continuous miner. A plow could be used by longwall. Average: Coal of average hardness could be easily cut by a miner, and a shearer would be used in the longwall. Moderate: Moderately hard coal causes difficult cut-
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