Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Ren, TX, Balusu, R and Humphries, P, Development of Innovative Goaf Inertisation Practices to Improve Coal Mine Safety, in Aziz, N (ed), Coal 2005: Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2005, 315-322.


In combination with detailed field studies and goaf gas characterisation, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) models have been used to develop optimum and effective strategies for inertisation during longwall sealing operations to achieve goaf inertisation within a few hours of panel seal-off operation. This study has combined detailed analysis of the performance of various inertisation field trials together with CFD modelling results of different inertisation operations in order to develop the optimum inertisation strategies. A number of parametric studies were conducted on the base case CFD models that had been calibrated and validated based on the information obtained from previous inertisation studies and goaf gas monitoring. These studies included changes in inert gas injection locations, inert gas flow rates, seam gradients, and different inertisation strategies to investigate their effect on goaf inertisation. Studies indicate that the strategy of inert gas injection through the MG seal was not as effective as the alternative strategy of inert gas injection at 200 m behind the face. Innovative inertisation strategies have been developed and subsequently implemented at an underground coal mine in Australia. Further investigations have been carried out in the development and demonstration of proactive inertisation strategies with the objective to suppress the occurrence of spontaneous heatings in active longwall faces, in particular under unexpected scenarios such as during slow retreat/face stoppage due to difficult geological conditions. Initial trials at two Australian longwall panels have demonstrated the great potential of this practice to contain the onset of heatings in the goaf.