Current mining activities of the OKD mines are primarily focused on coal seams within the Karvina Formation in the Karvina sub-basin. A considerable amount of coal reserves are situated in protection pillars that lie under built-up areas. The longwall mining method is not applicable in these areas because significant deformation of the surface is not permitted. For this reason OKD is considering using alternative methods of mining to minimise subsidence. The room and pillar method has been trialed with specific coal pillars in order to minimise strata convergence. The method was implemented in the shaft protective pillar at the CSM Mine and is the first application of the room and pillar mining method within the Upper Silesian Coal Basin. Mining depth reached up to 900 m and is perhaps the deepest room and pillar panel in the world.
To determine pillar stability, vertical stress was measured in two adjacent coal pillars which are diamond in shape and located within a row of pillars forming the panel. Two pillars diamond in shape and slightly irregular sides were approximately 860 m2 and 1200 m2 in size and 3.5 m high To measure the increase in vertical stress due to mining, four stress cells were installed in each coal pillar. Four 5-level multipoint rib extensometers measured displacements of all sides within each monitored pillar. The results of stress-state and pillar displacement monitoring allowed pillar loading and yielding characteristics to be described. This data and other analyses are essential to establishing procedures for a safe room and pillar method of mining within the Upper Silesian Coal Basin.