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Conference Paper

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This conference paper was originally published as Shepherd, J, Assessment of Rib Instability Hazards for Strata Management Systems, in Aziz, N (ed), Coal 2002: Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2002, 122-125.


The support and control of unstable coal mine ribs is an on-going problem for the industry but in actual fact systematic research investigations were started almost 20 years ago in Australian Coal Industries Research Laboratory (ACIRL). This came about through the interests of the Australian Coal Association and the Queensland Coal Association Thick Seam Mining Committee. Some work was also carried out on coal mine rib mechanics under the NERDDC program in the mid 1980’s. Several collieries were directly experiencing fairly acute rib control problems at this time and the research work was linked with these. A number of publications which have been largely forgotten resulted from this work: O’Beirne and Shepherd (1984), Shepherd et al (1984), O’Beirne et al (1985, 1986, 1987), but these and later studies form a good basis for the methodology of rib hazard identification. Other rib support research has also been carried out at the University of New South Wales: (Hebblewhite et al, 1998) have highlighted the need for matching the support to the dilational movements found in ribsides.

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