Longwall Dust Control Potentially Enhanced by Surface Borehole Water Infusion
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Jan 1, 1995
Injecting water under pressure to wet the coalbed in advance of mining reduces mining-generated respirable dust. Owing to economic and geological barriers, water infusion for longwall dust control in the United States is currently limited to the Pocahontas No. 3 Coalbed in Virginia. Water is pumped into the coalbed through underground boreholes drilled horizontally from the headgate toward the tailgate side of retreat longwall panels. This paper theorizes that the barriers to widespread utilization of water infusion for longwall dust control could be overcome by long-duration, low-pressure water infusion through vertical gob gas boreholes. Currently, 43% of the 72 longwall mines in the United States employ vertical gob gas boreholes. Computer coalbed reservoir simulation suggests that one vertical surface borehole could infuse the same longwall panel area as four horizontal boreholes in the current water infusion system for longwall dust control in the Pocahontas No. 3 Coalbed.