Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

S. Gillies and H. W. Wu, Australian longwall panel ventilation practices, 13th Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong, The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy & Mine Managers Association of Australia, 2013, 176-183.


A study has been undertaken into mine ventilation systems currently in use within Australian modern coal Longwall (LW) extraction mines. It reviews systems and discusses evolving changes being adopted to address the more complex challenges. There is a strong move to longer panels, wider faces, greater extraction heights, increased production rates, more efficient ventilation and decreased personnel. In addition mine workings are moving deeper which results in increased ventilation control issues such as higher total and respirable dust levels, greater seam gas contents in parallel with lower in situ permeabilities, spontaneous combustion and heat management issues. Currently there are a variety of LW panel ventilation circuits used in Australian underground coal mines due to various combinations of seam characteristics, gas emission rates, spontaneous combustion, geological features and surface constraints. The main issues usually addressed in the designing and planning of ventilation circuits for LW panels are airway velocity, gas concentrations, LW cutting methods (e.g. Bi-di, Uni-di or half web), ventilation of control devices, pressure differentials and leakage paths and understanding gas concentrations across the length and width of the goaf. If the ventilation circuit can manage the applied contaminant load (gases, heat and dust) at an acceptable cost and circuit duty, then supplementary controls, such as gas drainage, refrigeration and dust sprays and scrubbers, may not be required. The study has been undertaken based on reviews of LW mining operational practices in Australia.