Coal Burst

Coal burst is a violent collapse of coal walls and/or roofs in underground coal mines. It may happen in the development roadways, at the longwall face or at the chain pillars. As coal mining moves into deeper and more geologically complex ground, the risk of coal burst increases for the for Australian coal mining industry. CSIRO is currently carrying out strategical research in coal burst prediction, monitoring and prevention technologies through collaboration with ACARP and UNSW.

Coal burst has been a long-standing issue for underground coal mines around the world. The first coal burst was reported in UK in 1783. Since then many countries including Germany, USA, Canada, Poland, Russia, India, China and Australia have experienced coal burst events, some of which caused the loss of lives. The key challenges involved in coal burst are:

  • Understanding the coal burst mechanisms
  • Reliable assessment and prediction methodology
  • Monitoring and early warning tools for risk management
  • Mitigation and control technologies to minimise the risks
  • Appropriate roadway and face support techniques

Key aspects on coal burst research.

CSIRO has adopted an integrated and collaborative approach to address the key challenges of coal burst, including:

  • Learning from international experiences
  • Integrated and systematic approaches to address the five key aspects of coal burst
  • Collaboration with ACARP, universities (e.g. UNSW), and mining companies
  • Combining geomechanics measurement and modelling techniques with microseismic technology

Map of the risk of coal burst in different regions near the major geological structure based on the information from microseismic monitoring and stress measurements.

Microseismicity and seismic resonance frequency obtained in the roadway area where the experiment was carried out. In the figure the measured roof displacement and stress results are also shown (red solid line—horizontal stress; other solid lines—roof displacement).