Welcome to SCT's own publications library which contains a collection of recent publications and other resources with reliable research about our technology.
An Investigation into Underground Mine Interaction with Overlying Aquifers Huntly, East Mine, New Zealand - Winton Gale - Published 2006Published Feb, 2006In recent years, Huntly East Mine has operated at a depth range of approximately 100 m to 220 m below a Quaternary aged clay, sand and silt aquifer that is connected to a nearby large river system (Waikato River). A key issue for mine planning and environmental management has been the development of mine design criteria to allow efficient mining of the reserves and to maintain the integrity of the aquifer.
A case study and back analysis at Huntly East Mine is presented, which investigates the overburden conductivity and the impacts caused by mining-induced caving. The case study includes: i. computer modelling of the mine geometry, caving and overburden fracture networks created; ii. field investigation to develop an engineering geological model of the overburden within the goaf to validate the goaf geometry as defined by the computer generated model; iii. in situ field measurement of overburden conductivity in the pre- and post-mining condition; iv. interference testing across the goaf to determine the level of interconnectivity; and v. measured water pressure profiles above the mine. An-Investigation-into-Underground-Mine-Interaction-with-Overlying-Aquifers-Huntly-East-Mine-New-Zealand-W.Gale.pdf822 KB
Water Inflow Issues above Longwall Panels - Winton Gale - published 2006Published Feb, 2006The aim of this paper is to discuss the issues which relate to surface water inflow through the fractured overburden above longwall panels. The information used is a combination of field experience and computer modeling. Computer models used in this study simulate the fracture process in the geological units throughout the overburden. Analysis of the mining induced fracture patterns and in situ joint patterns allows an estimation of the hydraulic conductivity within the overburden. The cubic flow relationship has been used in examples presented. Water-Inflow-Issues-above-Longwall-Panels-W.Gale.pdf267 KB
Developing Methods for Placing Sand Propped Hydraulic Fractures for Gas Drainage in the Bulli Seam - Ken Mills - Published 2006Published Feb, 2006BHP Billiton Illawarra Coal is seeking ways to significantly increase gas capture rates from in seam drilling programs in its underground coal mining operations. Hydraulic Fracture Technology (HFT), a joint venture between SCT Operations Pty Ltd and CSIRO Petroleum, is working with Illawarra Coal to develop the capability to enhance gas drainage rates in the Bulli Seam using sand-propped hydraulic fracturing based on HFT’s experience at Dartbrook Mine where gas drainage rates were increased by 5 to 180 times. One of the principal challenges for implementing sand-propped hydraulic fracturing in the Bulli Seam is the high vertical stresses that cause borehole breakout in horizontal holes drilled in coal. Borehole breakout effectively precludes the use of open hole straddle packers which are a convenient tool for placing multiple sand-propped hydraulic fractures in in-seam holes.
Results of an initial six week trial undertaken at Douglas Project pit-bottom are described, which is aimed to developing the capability to install, grout and perforate casing so that straddle packers can be used for sand-propped hydraulic fracturing in overstressed boreholes. The primary goals of the pitbottom trial at Douglas were to confirm that horizontal boreholes in Bulli coal at 500 m overburden depth are overstressed and unsuitable for use of open hole straddle packers, and to establish a method for installing, cementing and slotting casing so that straddle packers can be used to place hydraulic fractures. Both these goals were successfully achieved. Developing-Methods-for-Placing-Sand-Propped-Hydraulic-Fractures-for-Gas-Drainage-in-the-Bulli-Seam-K.Mills.pdf738 KB
Application of Computer Modelling in the Understanding of Caving and Induced Hydraulic Conudctivity About Longwall Panels - Winton Gale - Published 2005Published Feb, 2005Computer modelling is being used to simulate rock fracture, caving and stress redistribution about longwall panels with increasing confidence. The models are being assessed against field monitoring and have significantly increased the understanding of caving mechanics within the overburden. This paper discusses the modelling approach and provides some examples of its application to overburden damage and induced hydraulic conductivity. Computer models used in this study simulate the fracture process in the geological units throughout the overburden. Analysis of the mining induced fracture patterns and in situ joint patterns allows an estimation of the hydraulic conductivity within the overburden. The cubic flow relationship has been used in the examples presented. Application-of-Computer-Modelling-in-the-Understanding-of-Caving-and-Induced-Hydraulic-Conudctivity-About-Longwall-Panels-W.Gale.pdf271 KB
Development and Application of Strata Management in Coal Mines - Stuart MacGregorPublished Jan, 2005The continuing need to improve productivity and safety requires mine operators to both successfully manage the hazards associated with strata control whilst optimising mining practices. Recent experience in Australian coal and metalliferous mines has seen the introduction of legislation to ensure that adequate consideration is given to geotechnical design and strata control.
This paper outlines a rational approach for the development of a Roadway Strata Management System that is based upon the systematic assessment of strata behaviour during all stages of a roadways use and describes its application by Strata Control
Technology Pty. Ltd. at Ulan Coal Mines Limited. Development-and-Application-of-Strata-Management-in-Coal-Mines-S.MacGregor-2005.pdf519 KB
Determination of Load Transfer Characteristics of Gloved Resin Bolts from Laboratory and In-Situ Field Testing - Stuart MacGregor - Published 2005Published Feb, 2005Resin based grouts are the main form of rock bolt anchorage in the underground coal industry in Australia and New Zealand. To be effective, the system requires the mixing of the catalyst and mastic components of the resin, as well as shredding of the laminate cartridge that contains the resin.
An unknown measure is the load transfer characteristics of a bolt where the resin is well mixed but remains encased in the cartridge (gloved). Laboratory and in situ field investigations have been undertaken to quantify the performance loss due to mixed gloved bolts. This work showed repeatable results, indicating serious performance loss of the gloved and mixed system, with load transfer approximately 10-15% of a non-gloved system (MacGregor, 2004).
The in situ testing has demonstrated the relationship between the adhesion qualities of the resin and the mechanical interlock generated by radial confinement with progressively increasing tensile load. Effective load transfer is defined by the ability of the system to sustain shear stress on the bolt hole wall. Determination-of-Load-Transfer-Characteristics-of-Gloved-Resin-Bolts-from-Laboratory-and-In-Situ-Field-Testing-S.MacGregor.pdf1.3 MB
Numerical Modelling of Floor Deformation Mode at Longwall Face - Winton Gale - Published 2005Published Feb, 2005High stress concentrations ahead of the longwall face often exceed the floor strength and induce fractures in the floor strata. While concentrations of the vertical stress alone induces fractures in the roof ahead of the longwall face, combinations of the vertical and horizontal stress appear to be the dominant factor in formation of floor fractures. These fractures develop in response to the triaxial stress conditions exceeding rock strength. In the immediate floor, fractures appear to form at frequent intervals dipping under the goaf at a steep angle while more complex bedding shear appears to dominate the floor failure at a greater depth. In a stronger floor the fractures appear to occur less frequently. If weak bedding planes are present in the floor, shear failure along these beddings can occur far ahead of the longwall face. The post failure displacements along the fractures and the formation of new fracture surfaces often occur in response to the stress relief, bending or buckling of thin bedded layers in the floor. The post failure displacements can be
large and may interfere with mining operations.
This paper presents the computational approach using FLAC to model the development of fractures in the floor strata. The model uses programmable “fish routines” that allow simulation of failure modes that may occur in response to the changing stress field ahead of the longwall face. Continuous monitoring of the two dimensional stress field is used to predict the fracture types and the direction at which the fractures may propagate. The fractures are then simulated using FLAC ubiqitous elements that allow to assign the joint direction and the reduction of joint strength in the direction of the calculated fracture. The stress state is tested continuously during the execution of the program and fractures are simulated when the stress exceeds the rock strength. This procedure can simulate the progressive development of fractures during the longwall advance. The method is particularly helpful to estimate the type of fractures and their frequency that depend on the strength of floor strata and stress build up during a longwall advance. The depth of floor failure can have a significant influence on the gas release from the floor strata in gaseous mines. The type of fractures and the fracture orientation that is computed can be presented in the movie files to view the development of fractures in the floor during the longwall advance. Numerical-Modelling-of-Floor-Deformation-Mode-at-Longwall-Face-W.Gale.pdf1.5 MB
Computer Simulation of Ground Behaviour and Rock Bolt Interaction at Emerald Mine - Winton Gale - Published 2004Published Feb, 2004A collaborative project between RAG Emerald Mine, NIOSH, and SCT Operations was conducted to investigate ground behaviour, reinforcement performance, and stress redistribution in a coal mine entry subjected to a severe horizontal stress concentration. Field measurements indicated that the stresses applied to the study site nearly doubled during longwall mining, resulting in roof deformations extending to a height of 4.8 m (16 ft) above the entry.
This paper focuses on the computer simulation that was undertaken to provide more insight into the roof behaviour and rock bolt interaction during mining. The model’s input rock properties were derived from extensive laboratory testing, and the model itself simulated a broad range of failure mechanisms. The effects of different bolt patterns on roadway behaviour were evaluated. Comparison between the model results and the field measurements indicated that that the model effectively simulated the critical elements of the actual roadway’s behaviour. With the confidence gained, the model was used as a baseline for additional simulations that evaluated the expected performance of alternative roof support systems. The study will also provide a benchmark data set for future applications of numerical modelling to U.S. coal underground mining. Computer-Simulation-of-Ground-Behaviour-and-Rock-Bolt-Interaction-at-Emerald-Mine-Winton-Gale.pdf697 KB
Applications of Hydraulic Fracturing to Control Caving Events in Coal Mines - The Moonee Experience - Ken MillsPublished Jan, 2002Hydraulic fracturing involves the injection of high pressure fluid into a rock mass to form one or more fractures. Fractures are oriented perpendicular to the lowest principal stress acting at the time of injection. Hydraulic fractures can be extended considerable distances from one or more boreholes oriented in any convenient direction. The technique offers a method to control caving related phenomena such as inducement of caving, control of periodic weighting, initiation of first goaf fall, and preconditioning of longwall takeoff areas. This paper describes the successful application of hydraulic fracturing to control windblast hazard at Moonee Colliery and opportunities that emerge for other applications.
Moonee Colliery extracts the lower 3m of the Great Northern seam using a 100m wide longwall panel. A 35m thick conglomerate strata immediately overlying the seam is able to temporarily bridge across the panel so that the goaf does not immediately cave.
When the conglomerate strata does eventually fall, the bottom 10-15m collapses more or less as a single mass over an area 50-300m long by the full 100m panel width. The windblasts generated by these events present a very significant hazard to men working on the longwall face.
Hydraulic fracturing has been successfully introduced at Moonee Colliery as a method to induce caving events “on demand”. The men are evacuated from the longwall face area prior to commencement of the hydraulic fracture treatment. After a treatment typically
lasting 15 minutes to 2 hours, a goaf fall event is usually initiated and mining can be recommenced with the windblast hazard eliminated.
The work at Moonee is believed to be the first successful use of hydraulic fracturing to induce caving events in Australia. Infusing water to weaken rock and small-scale hydraulic fracturing, ahead of or over longwall panels, has been tried previously in Australia and South Africa. Infusion is currently being used in China. Hydraulic fracturing has also been used in Poland to condition the roof over new panels and to modify the stiffness of rock around mine openings to reduce rock burst hazards. The application of hydraulic fracturing, described in this paper, to control the timing of caving events has not
been used before.
The technique also offers the potential to control periodic weighting events, induce caving at longwall startup, precondition pre-driven longwall take-off roads and take control of caving in other situations where it would be desirable to induce the goaf to cave. Application-of-Hydraulic-Fracturing-to-Control-Caving-Events-in-Coal-Mines-Ken-Mills-2002.pdf1.1 MB
Experience in Computer Simulation of Caving Rock Fracture and Fluid Flow in Longwall Panels - Winton Gale - Published 2002Published Feb, 2002Recent advances in computer simulation together with field measurements of caving and microseismic activity about longwall panels, has allowed a much better understanding of the caving process and the variability due to geology. Research between SCT Operations and CSIRO Division of Exploration and Mining has initiated new methods of computational modelling predicting various caving patterns and strata failure far ahead of the longwall face.
The rock fracture distribution and the caving characteristics of a range of strata sections have been simulated by computer methods. The computer simulation of strata behaviour includes coupled fluid and mechanical behaviour. Validation studies of the method were addressed together with case studies. The method allows the simulation of longwall support behaviour and fluid pressure distributions about longwall panels under various geological conditions. The system also allows a prediction of the monitoring data, which is best suited to give an early warning of weighting events or signal various key caving characteristics. Experience-in-Computer-Simulation-of-Caving-Rock-Fracture-and-Fluid-Flow-in-Longwall-Panels-W.Gale.pdf4 MB
A Method of Determining Longwall Abutment Load Distributions for Roadway and Pillar Design - Ken MillsPublished Nov, 2001This paper describes a method to determine abutment loads on longwall chain pillars and adjacent roadways. The method is based on: observation of subsidence behaviour, field measurements of abutment load distributions, and considerations of total overburden load about one or more longwall panels.
Surface subsidence data is used to deduce how far the overburden strata can transfer overburden weight and the total abutment load required to be distributed for any particular depth and longwall geometry. To be of practical use in roadway and pillar design, the shape of the abutment load distribution is also required as a function of distance from the goaf edge. Direct field measurement using high quality, three dimensional stress monitoring instruments is considered to provide the most reliable method of determining the magnitude and shape of the abutment load distribution at various stages of longwall mining.
The abutment load distribution determined at any one site by field measurement can be scaled horizontally to account for changes in overburden depth and vertically to account for changes in total abutment load. Thus, within the limitations of extrapolating data from one site to another, the abutment load distribution can be estimated for different depth and longwall geometries. Pillar loading and the vertical stress acting on adjacent roadways can then be determined from the measured load distributions, or scaled versions thereof, for any particular stage of mining, longwall geometry or depth of overburden. A-Method-of-Determining-Longwall-Abutment-Load-Distributions-for-Roadway-and-Pillar-Design-K.Mills-2001.pdf1.2 MB
Application of Computer Modelling in the Understanding of Subsidence Movements - Winton Gale - Published 2001Published Feb, 2001Computer modelling is being used to simulate rock fracture, caving and stress redistribution about longwall panels with increasing confidence. The models are being assessed against field monitoring and have significantly increased the understanding of caving mechanics within the overburden.
The modelling supports the concept that the ground subsides from the seam and progresses upwards and as such subsidence is the end point in a failure pathway within the overburden. The nature of the strata, in situ stresses and the mining geometry will influence the subsidence. The nature of the fractures created and the enhanced permeability will influence the interaction of mining with aquifers and surface water. Application-of-Computer-Modelling-in-the-Understanding-of-Subsidence-Movements-W.Gale.pdf425 KB
Displacement Monitoring and Visualisation Using Terrestrial Photogrammetry - Ken MillsPublished Feb, 2018Digital photogrammetry has been to shown to be an effective and efficient method for visualising and measuring subsidence behaviour of sandstone cliff formations. The system described in this paper provides the capability to measure subsidence movement over areas that are inaccessible to conventional subsidence monitoring techniques. Preliminary comparisons with a more traditional survey technique (total station survey to prisms) has shown mean variations, between the techniques, in vectors of movement of 17 millimetres.
They system described provides visualisation of the sandstone cliff formations through the generation of 3D images which can be rotated to be viewed from any angle. Visualisation provides a powerful tool for measuring, interpreting and understanding the shape, structure and geology. 3D images provide an advantage in tracking vectors of movement of natural features over a large area of inaccessible escarpment.
This paper provides a description of the technique and results obtained to date. The photogrammetry techniques used are based on photogrammetry techniques developed for mine highwall mapping. The results obtained in mapping subsidence exceed expectation for the camera system used. Further development will be undertaken to develop this teqnique for commercial applications in landform stability monitoring.
Through the generation of a large number of vector movements and visualisation a more complete knowledge and understanding of subsidence behaviour of sandstone cliff formations is derived. MSTS-Conference-2001-Displacement-Monitoring-and-Visualisation-Using-Terrestrial-Photogrammetry-K.Mills.pdf2.1 MB
Caving Induced by Hydraulic Fracturing at North Parkes Mine - Rob Jeffrey - Published 2000Published Feb, 2000This paper describes the first use of hydraulic fracturing for cave inducement in a block caving mine. As of September 1999, several hundred hydraulic fracture treatments have been performed at Northparkes and are attributed with inducing about 7 million tonnes of ore to cave. Caving-Induced-by-Hydraulic-Fracturing-at-North-Parkes-Mine-R.Jeffrey.pdf267 KB
Combining Modern Assessment Methods to Improve Understanding of Longwall Geomechanics - Winton Gale - Published 1998Published Feb, 1998Ongoing, collaborative research between CSIRO's Exploration and Mining and Strata Control Technology has resulted in a better understanding of rock failure mechanisms around longwall extraction. Failure has occurred further ahead of the retreating face than predicted by conventional longwall geomechanics theory. In some cases significant failure has been detected several hundred metres ahead of the face position with demonstrated influences of minor geological discontinuities. Shear, rather than tensile failure has been the predominant failure mechanism in the environments monitored. Validating technologies of microseismic monitoring and new face monitoring techniques have assisted the development of predictive 2D computational modelling tools. The demonstrated 3D consequences of failure has assisted in the ongoing direction of the project to further investigate these effects. Combining-modern-assessment-methods-to-improve-understanding-of-longwall-geomechanics-W.Gale.pdf2.9 MB
Coal Pillar Design Issues in Longwall Mining - Winton Gale - Published 1998Published Feb, 1998Coal pillar design has been based on generalised formulae of the strength of the coal in a pillar and experience in localised situations. Stress measurements above and in coal pillars indicate that the actual strength and deformation of pillars varies much more than predicted by formulae. This variation is due to failure of strata surrounding coal. The pillar strength and deformation of the adjacent roadways is a function of failure in the coal and the strata about the coal.
When the pillar is viewed as a system in which failure also occurs in the strata, rather than the coal only, the wide range of pillar strength characteristics found in the UK, USA, South Africa, Australia, China, Japan and other countries are simply variations due to different strata-coal combinations and not different coal strengths. This paper presents the measured range of pillar strength characteristics and explains the reasons. Methods to design pillar layouts with regard to the potential strength variations due to the strata strength characteristics surrounding the seam are presented. Coal-Pillar-Design-Issues-in-Longwall-Mining-Winton-Gale.pdf3.3 MB
A review of Recent in situ Stress Measurements in United Kingdom Coal Measures Strata - Paul Cartwright - Published 1997Published Jul, 1997The in-situ stress regime is recognised by United Kingdom coal mine operators as a significant design parameter related to efficient mine design. The results obtained from recent overcore stress measurements undertaken in Coal Measures strata are analysed and presented. A relationship has been deduced which relates the maximum horizontal stress to the depth and to the elastic properties of the rock. This relationship is considered more suitable for estimating the maximum horizontal stress magnitude in Coal Measures strata than existing methods based solely on the depth of cover. This study also indicates that all in-situ stress determinations in sedimentary strata should be quoted with the elastic properties of the test horizons. A-review-of-recent-in-situ-stress-measurements-in-United-Kingdom-Coal-Measures-strata-P.Cartwright.pdf2.1 MB
In Situ Stress Measurement Using the ANZI Stress Cell - Ken MillsPublished Aug, 2017This paper describes the operation of the ANZI (Australia, New Zealand Inflatable) Stress cell. Laboratory and field measurements are used to illustrate the instrument's operation. The ANZI stress cell has a pressuremeter design that enables 18 electrical resistance strain gauges to be pressure bonded directly to the rock of a borehole wall. The strain gauges are monitored during overcoring to obtain stress relief strains.
An up hole pressure test is undertaken prior to overcoring to obtain the elastic properties of the rock in situ and to confirm the correct operation of all the strain gauges. The elastic properties of the rock are also obtained after overcoring in a biaxial test. The ANZI stress cell is widely used for routine three dimensional stress measurement in underground coal operations in Australia. It is being increasingly used in the United Kingdom, China, Japan and Vietnam in coal mining, civil and hard rock applications. In-Situ-Stress-Measurment-using-the-ANZI-Stress-Cell-K.Mills.pdf1.2 MB
Statistical Analysis of Undeground Stress Measurements in Australian Coal Mines - Winton Gale - Ken MillsPublished Jul, 2017This paper presents a summary of 235 underground stress measurements conducted in the virgin ground of NSW and Queensland mines. The main objective of this study is to analyse the statistical information from the measurements that are relevant to strata control and mine planning with a view to estimate the risk involved with strata failure.
Major findings include the statistical increase of maximum horizontal stress with depth in Queensland and NSW mines, a comparison of normalised lateral stress magnitudes and measurements in rock of a different stiffness, ‘Tectonic Factor’ concept, and maximum lateral stresses and their directions in NSW and Queensland coalfields. These findings can provide a valuable benchmark for mine planning and strata control with potential savings in mine operating costs. Statistical-Analysis-of-Underground-Stress-Measurements-in-Australian-Coal-Mines-W.Gale-K.Mills.pdf2 MB
Investigations Aimed to Improve Tailgate Serviceability at Dartbrook Mine - Ken MillsPublished Jul, 2017Dartbrook Mine has experienced rib control difficulties because of deterioration in the tailgate corner of the longwall face as overburden depth has increased. This paper summarises an investigation to optimise support and develop strategies to improve the serviceability of the tailgate roadways. Field measurements undertaken in the tailgate of Longwall 6 identified roadway softening mechanisms, deformation characteristics and factors controlling deformation. This provides the basis for optimising the reinforcement system as part of an ongoing Strata Management Plan at the mine. Investigations-Aimed-to-Improve-Tailgate-Serviceability-at-Dartbrook-Mine-K.Mills.pdf397 KB