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A risk-management approach to improve coal-pillar extraction

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2012, Vol. 332, No. 1, pp. 458-469

Bise, C.J.; Bucks, P.


Central Appalachian coal reserves are a valuable natural resource in high demand, both domestically and internationally, justifying efforts to increase percentage recovery through pillaring. Unfortunately, the challenge associated with pillar extraction introduces additional safety risks during the activity. Although pillaring developed prior to mechanized mining, current technology and mining practices have made this form of mining highly modernized. However, current fatality trends suggest that work still needs to be done to control the residual risk that is not controlled by modern practices, such as those having a personnel-performance-based component. This paper investigates the application of modern coal pillaring techniques and will present a risk-management-based strategy that targets personnel-performance-based risk, in order to improve the ability of safety engineers, managers and trainers to provide training programs addressing the needs of pillaring sections.