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Seam Gases in Major Australian Coalfields

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Author Hargraves A J
ID P198601097

Description

The major coalfields of Australia are almost unique in the occurrence in some areas of CO partly or almost completely replacing CH4,t1e normal seam gas from metamorphism of coal due to time and depth of burial. This CO2 situation has some benefits but mostly it introduces particular safety problems result- ing from the high density of CO2 relative to air, magnifying problems of gas dilution in ventilation, and the greater affinity which coal has for CO2 than for CH4 increasing proneness to gas-dynamic phenomena. The occurrence of most CO2 seam gas can be directly related to igneous intrusion and to its associated pneumatolytic injections. Whilst intrusions locally increase the rank of coal by their contact metamorphic effect, normal coal metamorphism due to time and depth of burial continues after intrusion and injection together with the ongoing metamorph- ic production of CH . This new CH slowly displaces any CO to leave some present-day intruded coals with seam gas with reduced CO2 or even without any significant CO2 associat- ions. The seam gas maps of the Bowen and Sydney Basins and more detailed maps of specific areas exemplify these situations. Mining progress, plus more searching studies of igneous-coal relationships provide improved understanding of the factors involved.