Year

2015

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Department

School of Civil, Mining and Environmental Engineering

Abstract

Longwall mining operations are complex systems which involve numerous interrelated activities. This thesis is an attempt to establish a simple yet effective methodology using discrete event simulation to identify primary constraints in the longwall mining process and to assess the effect that modifications to the system have on elevating a particular constraint without having to implement the change in situ.

A model of potential longwall mining systems, including roadway development technologies and practices, was developed using Flexsim® simulation software. The simulation model was structured such that it can be configured to most longwall layouts, with cutting and development sequences matching Australian longwall mining systems. The model can automatically run many replications of multiple scenarios with multiple sets of variables such that the full range of mining processes, including random and variable delays, can be integrated into a single, best practice simulation platform that enables an entire processing chain to be analysed and improved in context. Moreover, its three dimensional views and animation enables users to view the dynamic production system ‘in situ’, which gives a better understanding of the actual operation. The developed model is a useful tool that is easy for users with a non-programming background to use, while giving advanced users a degree of flexibility.

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