“A significant amount of work lies in longwall geotechnical services that extend from operational assessments right through to feasibility and life-of-mine studies,” AMC principal geotechnical consultant Terry Medhurst said.
AMC has extended this work into an ACARP study on mining through faults and factors associated with grouting requirements. This work is also providing some useful information about longwall mining in the thicker coal seams and under weak roof conditions more generally.
AMC has seen recent growth in multi-seam longwall assessments, particularly in relation to layout options and support requirements as part of the development of future mine development plans.
AMC uses both empirical and modelling methods in most of their assessments.
“We like to use both methods because empirical methods provide industry benchmarks while modelling allows a better understanding of the mechanisms at play,” said Medhurst.
AMC has also been working with several researchers developing methods for characterisation of ground conditions using borehole geophysics. This is feeding into its consulting work by improving its knowledge on roof conditions, as well as overburden characterisation for mine design.
Future multi-seam longwall mines will need a much stronger focus on overburden characterisation than is currently used in the industry, according to Medhurst.
Look out on International Longwall News over the coming weeks for more individual profiles on survey participants.