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Unique Coal Mine Drift Construction Method


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Author C Donnelly, G Ramage and W Rangi


Redpath Australia is using a unique mining method for the Australian underground coal industry at Kestrel Mine Extension in the Bowen Basin, Central Queensland.

The project involves completing two separate drifts from the surface for access to the German Creek Coal Seam located approximately 230 m below the existing surface. The scope of work is primarily the construction of two drifts; the first is 1577 m at 1 in 6 gradient and the second 1874 m at 1 in 8 gradient. Each drift has been developed by a Mitsui S200 roadheader with modifications to allow for a continuous tunnelling/mining cycle operation. A shotcrete boom has been fitted to the left hand side of the machine with the operators console located at ground level. Another operators console is elevated on the right hand side of the machine to allow operation of the rotary drill boom which is mounted on a slide rail to allow flexibility of positioning depending on the stage of the cycle.

In support of the roadheader activities, an integrated conveyor system mounted on a sliding floor arrangement is able to be advanced as the mining face progresses. This sliding floor consists of four 1.5 m × 6 m sections that utilise hydraulic rams to ‘walk’ inbye, allowing room for installation of precast concrete floor panels for final floor completion.

This method
borrows from the tunnelling and construction industries to eliminate
place-change delays in the mining cycle by enabling complete ground support
installation without retreat of the primary development machine from the face.
The aim is to reduce the project duration with the completion of final floor and
services to within 30 m of the operating face as it advances.

Donnelly, C,
Ramage, G and Rangi, W, 2011. Unique coal mine drift
construction method, in Proceedings 11th AusIMM Underground Operators’

pp 45-54 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: