Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc.
Transactions home

  SME FaceBook SME Twitter SME LinkedIn RSS Feed

Locating and determining the status of a thermal event in a longwall panel using mine atmosphere monitoring data

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2012, Vol. 332, No. 1, pp. 485-493

Luo, Y.; Xiao, Lei; Cheng, Jianwei; Li, Mingming


 Concealed thermal events in longwall gobs present safety hazards for underground coal miners and can significantly interrupt mining production. The probable causes for such thermal events range from coal oxidation at slightly above ambient temperature to smoldering fires due to spontaneous combustion of the broken coal left in the gobs. Locating such “hot spots” is the key step for planning and implementing mitigation measures to bring such thermal events under control. If a mine section, or even an entire mine, has to be sealed, understanding the status of the sealed mine atmosphere is important for the decisions guiding subsequent actions. The gas composition data obtained through the tube bundle mine atmospheric monitoring system is firsthand information of great value. Fire ratios proposed by various researchers and derived from gas composition data are useful in determining the fire status and even approximating the source locations (Timko and Derick, 2006). However, the applicability of each of these ratios under particular conditions should be carefully evaluated. The use of properly combined fire ratios can enhance the certainty of analysis. The explosibility of a sealed mine atmosphere deserves primary concern for safety reasons during seal construction, idle time and reopening of the sealed area.Mine atmospheric monitoring data from a longwall mine with flame fire have been analyzed. Efforts have been made to identify the possible causes, locations and statuses of these events using the obtained gas data, as well as other ventilation, geological and mining parameters. The effect of injected inert gas to control the events has also been quantified. The explosibility of the sealed atmosphere has been determined using two methods.