Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

Patrick Booth, Jan Nemcik and Ting Ren, A Critical Review and New Approach for Determination of Transient Gas Emission Behaviour In Underground Coal Mines, in Naj Aziz and Bob Kininmonth (eds.), Proceedings of the 16th Coal Operators' Conference, Mining Engineering, University of Wollongong, 10-12 February 2016, 367-379.


Fugitive gas emissions from underground coal mining are forecast to increase beyond the practical management capacity of ventilation and current pre and post drainage systems. At the same time, investors, regulators and the community are demanding more accurate and evidence based emission information and transparent disclosure of carbon risk. The Paris Global Climate Change Agreement commits Australia to global emission reduction targets which aim to limit global warming to below 2⁰C with an aspirational goal of below 1.5⁰C (UNFCCC, 2015). This increases the scrutiny on coal operations, against the backdrop of lower prices, reduced margins and increased international competition. The prediction of methane emissions arising from underground coal mining has been the subject of extensive research for several decades, however calculation techniques remain empirically based and are hence limited to the origin of information in both application and resolution. Emission predictions are essential for the quantification and management of risk. To remain cost competitive and meet the Paris challenge, a step change to improvement is required in gas management. The identification and use of effective and timely controls for gas management will not only make mining safer, delivery of this outcome will reduce fugitive emissions, operational interruptions and thereby lift both coal and energy productivity. A new approach to the determination of transient methane emission behaviour based upon fundamental physical and energy related principles is described. Operational risks and limitations associated with the present traditional approaches to gas emission prediction and design of gas management, such as localised and non-transferable empirical estimation of zone and degree of emission using historical data matching, assumptions that geological conditions will not change, and reduced spatial and time based resolution may be addressed using this fundamental basis.