A sequential approach to control gas for the extraction of multi-gassy coal seams from traditional gas well drainage to mining-induced stress relief
As coal resources become exhausted in shallow mines, mining operations will inevitably progress from shallow depth to deep and gassy seams due to increased demands for more coal products. However, during the extraction process of deeper and gassier coal seams, new challenges to current gas control methods have emerged, these include the conflict between the coal mine safety and the economic benefits, the difficulties in reservoirs improvement, as well as the imbalance between pre-gas drainage, roadway development and coal mining. To solve these problems, a sequential approach is introduced in this paper. Three fundamental principles are proposed: the mining-induced stress relief effect of the first-mined coalbed should be sufficient to improve the permeability of the others; the coal resource of the first-mined seams must be abundant to guarantee the economic benefits; the arrangement of the vertical wells must fit the underground mining panel. Tunlan coal mine is taken as a typical example to demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach. The approach of integrating surface coalbed methane (CBM) exploitation with underground gas control technologies brings three major benefits: the improvement of underground coal mining safety, the implementation of CBM extraction, and the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. This practice could be used as a valuable example for other coal mines having similar geological conditions.