Feasibility of an Integrated Thin Seam Coal Mining and Waste Disposal System
The depletion of more attractive thicker and easily accessible coal seams in the central Appalachia will direct attention towards the extraction of coal seams thinner than 28 in. This thesis investigates the feasibility of an integrated mining and backfilling system applicable to thin seams. Two conceptual mining systems, namely Auger mining and Self Advancing Miner, have been proposed for this purpose. Both these systems are designed to remotely mine coal from the seams. Several attempts were made in the past to mine coal in a similar fashion but were not very successful due to several problems inherent to thin seams. The lack of effective steering techniques, accurate coal/rock interface and pillar thickness detection techniques were the main shortcomings of the systems. These problems were addressed in the proposed conceptual mining systems. Several coal/rock interface and rib thickness detection techniques currently available in the market or in the prototype stage have been discussed. Recent developments in coal/rock interface detection and direction sensing techniques have good potential in alleviating the previously encountered problems. Sensitivity analyses have been performed to assess the of effect critical mining parameters on the production potential of these systems. The self advancing miner has been found to be more promising than auger mining. Conceptual panels and face layouts for both systems have been included. Two types of filling methods namely pneumatic and hydraulic are considered applicable under thin seam conditions. A backfilling technique using rubber hoses for fill placement can be applied with both methods. Sensitivity analysis have been performed to establish the relationship between face operation cost, filling cost per ton and development cost per foot. Resulting analyses indicate that panel cost per short ton of coal is more sensitive to filling cost than on development cost.
- Masters Theses