A scheme is presented whereby the complexities of design and operation of a hydraulically powered coalmine support are modelled using the finite element method. This enables predictions to be made of the interaction of the support with its environment in a variety of operating conditions. The model is a two dimensional representation. The modelling scheme was applied in two case studies. In the first, the performance of a four leg support was uprated by increasing the front leg force. The finite element model enabled changes in overall support performance to be verified. In the second case study, the change in lateral force developed by a two leg support was assessed with changes in support operating height and floor foundation stiffness. The modelling scheme is capable of further development with the possibility of extending the model into three dimensions and the addition of control elements that would enable an actual mining sequence to be Represented.