Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Beamish, B et al, Application of fault tree analysis to coal spontaneous combustion, in Aziz, N (ed), 10th Underground Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2010, 269-273.


This method has been applied to the analysis of a spontaneous combustion event for the five year mine plan of the new Abel Mine, Newcastle, Australia. A team of people with diverse backgrounds provided input to the analysis, which was facilitated by a risk management consultant. The team consisted of the Technical Services Manager – Underground Operations, the Project Manager, The Undermanager, the Ventilation Officer, the local Check Inspector (representing the underground operators), a ventilation consultant and a coal spontaneous combustion expert. The resulting fault tree has provided the mine with a clear set of controls that can be incorporated into a spontaneous combustion management plan. This approach sets a new benchmark for the coal industry and produces a generic model that is robust enough to be transferable to any mine by adjustment of the site specific parameters. Some of the branches of the fault tree will be presented in this paper to raise the awareness of the coal industry to the comprehensive nature of this approach to risk management.