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Conference Paper

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Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Colwell, M & Frith, R, ALTS 2009 - A Ten Year Journey, in Aziz, N (ed), Coal 2009: Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2009, 37-53.


This paper summarises the development and application of the ALTS (Analysis of Longwall Tailgate Serviceability) design methodology for longwall gateroad design associated with Australian collieries. The original ALTS design methodology was presented to the industry via workshops in early 1999 and since that time continued research, updating of the database and direct support from most Australian longwall operations has resulted in the ALTS 2009 software package, which also incorporates ADRS (Analysis and Design of Rib Support). In addition to the chain pillar design component, ALTS 2009 now provides design recommendations for primary and secondary roof and rib support for both the belt road and travel road/tailgate. ALTS and ADRS are empirical techniques which recognise that several geotechnical and design factors affect gateroad performance and in addition that operational and safety issues essentially dictate the level of performance required. These techniques are based on a sound mechanistic understanding of roadway behaviour, are transparent in their content and application and geotechnical engineers can be readily trained in their use. As part of the review of ACARP’s geomechanics-related research in 2991, 52 underground geomechanics-related projects were highly rated in terms of their research quality and industry application. ALTS was one of 11 projects that received the highest rating and yet it took several years for it to gain the widespread acceptance it now enjoys. It is suggested that the principal causes of this delay were; a misguided point of view when relating the science of rock mechanics to engineering and, some ill-informed commentary concerning empirical modelling in general and specifically with respect to ALTS. The myths and some of the mis-information surrounding ALTS are addressed.

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