Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

David Cliff, Darren Brady and Martin Watkinson, Developments in the Management of Spontaneous Combustion in Australian Underground Coal Mines, 14th Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong, The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy & Mine Managers Association of Australia, 2014, 330-338.


In 1996 the book Spontaneous Combustion in Australian Underground Coal Mines was first released (Cliff, et al., 1996). Since that time it has been reprinted several times and minor updates have been made. A major overhaul of the book was commissioned by ACARP and this paper reports on some of the changes to spontaneous combustion management that have occurred over the past eighteen years. Our knowledge of the fundamental chemical processes that control spontaneous combustion has improved materially in that time. In addition preventive control measures such as good ventilation and proactive inertisation coupled with computer modelling of goaf behaviour have emerged, as well as improved reactive control measures including the use of foams and gels to control airflow into active goafs. Mine environment monitoring techniques and technology have also undergone major development with sophisticated automated continuous gas monitoring systems being the norm in our mines and ultrafast ultra sensitive gas chromatographs being widely used. Pressure and air flow measurements are also used routinely to monitor and predict airflows not only in roadways but across seals and through goafs.