Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

T. Imgrund and R. Thomas, International experience of gas emission and gas outburst prevention in underground coal mines, 13th Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong, The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy & Mine Managers Association of Australia, 2013, 331-338.


With increasing depth of cover, control of gas emissions and prevention of gas outbursts has become a more and more important issue in mine design and mine operation. Long term experience in these fields exists, especially in Australia, Germany, China, Kazakhstan and Ukraine. Based on local conditions including geology, market conditions and mining regulations, different approaches have been developed in these countries. Changes in these parameters have however exposed the limitations of traditional solutions. While the Australian approach is based on the premise that gas content will be reduced below specific threshold values ahead of mining, opportunities of pre-drainage are limited in low permeability coal such as that encountered e.g. in Germany and China. In the case of multi seam mining, a highly effective increase in permeability can however be achieved through pressure relief by unconventional mining sequences. Although practiced at several mines in Europe and Asia, realising this in open market conditions requires a high quality of planning in regard to mine layout, mine development and gas drainage as well as the appropriate geotechnical assessments. A key factor is access and extraction of the first seam at or near to virgin gas contents. Mining at high gas contents by applying local exploration and pressure relief drilling has been practiced in a successful and safe way in several European mines. This has to be connected with a proper management system and safety system, allowing efficient reactions to identified hazards. Apart from international experience and development, the paper will also discuss current and future approaches of technology transfer. Merging the future development in gas drainage with unconventional approaches is therefore an opportunity for accessing deep and difficult deposits.