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Pillar Design in Bump-Prone Deep Western U.S. Coal Mines

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Author Kripakov NP and Kneisley RO
ID P199207058

Description

This paper presents a brief overview of current bump mechanics theories and pillar design methodologies, and relates these concepts to experiences at two mines located in a north- central Utah coalfield where different pillar designs were used to control mountain bumps. Experiences gained at the first mine demonstrated the successful implementation of a two-entry, 9.8 m (32 ft)-wide, yield-pillar design. A U.S. Bureau of Mines field study quantified the timing of chain pillar yielding and resulting load transfer from the gateroad. In-mine pillar response, although apparently sensitive to site-specific conditions, compared favorably to estimates derived using two yield- pillar design methods. A second study conducted at another mine located in the same district, but subjected to different geologic conditions, documents the unsuccessful attempts to employ progressively narrower three-entry pillar designs based on successes achieved at the first mine site. This second mine never achieved a true yield-pillar design. Use of pillar widths ranging between 9.1 m (30 ft) and 27.4 m (90 ft) always resulted in violent bumps in the tailgate pillars. The pillars were either too large to yield, or too small to support peak operational loads. Hypothetical gateroad systems were evaluated using both analytical and empirical approaches for configurations comprised of two rows of conventional pillars, and systems incorporating both yield and abutment pillars. Analysis concluded that yield pillars less than 6.1 m (20 ft) wide and abutment pillars ranging between 30.5 m (100 ft) and 39.6 m (130 ft) square would be required to achieve a stable gateroad design. However, results of a field study conducted on a two-entry, 36.6 m (120 ft)- wide abutment pillar concluded that abutment pressures from the first panel overrode the pillar, and that a still larger pillar may be required to preclude bumps in the tailgate during second panel mining. Without the benefit of a demonstrated in-mine success, it is not clear which design would ensure elimination of gateroad bumps.