ACARP calls for research proposals

AUSTRALIA’s coal industry research body, ACARP (Australian Coal Association Research Program) has called for research proposals for suitable projects for 2003.

Staff Reporter

The ACARP program is funded, owned and managed by the Australian coal producing industry. Five technical committees responsible for project development and research are: Greenhouse Gas Mitigation, Coal Utilisation, Open Cut, Underground and Coal Preparation.

The Underground research committee has outlined five key program areas as important focus areas:

Improved health and safety

Of emerging interest in this area is a focus on self-escape and aided rescue, including early warning of emergency conditions. Ventilation and gas management, as well as improved utilisation of captured gas are other areas of note.

Management of mining conditions

Research priorities here are to better use information from drilling and remote sensing exploration methods, and better prediction of mining conditions by looking at structural and tectonic controls of prospective mining areas. Optimising roadway support systems and improved control of caving are also prioritised.

Higher productivity mining systems

Improvements in roadway development performance is the priority here, as well as improving longwall capabilities in ‘non-standard’ environments. These might include mining through structure, mining multiple seams or looking at thin seam extraction, which might include plow technology. Increased automation of systems is also a priority.

Improved reliability of equipment and services

Increasing the uptime of equipment is important, including increasing availability and utilisation; better prediction of failure and wear; and better condition monitoring. The improvement of coal clearance and conveyor systems is targeted and is the promotion of the wider use of modern diesel engine systems underground.

Management of environmental impacts

Subsidence is a major priority, particularly better prediction of strata movements. The impact of subsidence on groundwater and other natural structures is also highlighted.

Program administrators underlined that proposed projects that were strongly supported by a mine site and which would be of interest to a number of coal operations would be well received.

The format for proposals should be limited to a maximum of five pages with a summary sheet. The deadline for submission of short proposals is May 31. Shortlisted applicants would need to submit full proposals by September 20 with final selections made by early December.

Further details are available on the ACARP web site