Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

Adrian Moodieand James Anderson, Geotechnical Considerations for Longwall Top Coal Caving at Austar Coal Mine, 11th Underground Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2011, 29-39.


Austar Coal Mine has had a long association with difficult strata control conditions associated with depth of mining and a highly jointed/cleated coal seam. Poor longwall face conditions, cyclic loading, heavy tailgate roadway conditions and difficulties in maintaining stable roadways on development at < 5.2 m let alone the geotechnical challenges of an 8.5 m roadway required for installation faces have been matters of conceren for management. The introduction of Longwall Top Coal Caving (LTCC) to this environment has aided in the management of some of these issues, but has also given rise to other geotechnical considerations. These additional geotechnical issues associated with LTCC not only require management during operations but also require consideration when evaluating new mining areas at Austar or potential LTCC extractable resources throughout Australia and the world. In September 2006 LTCC commenced at Austar Coal Mine in longwall panel A1. Since that time the LTCC face has been increased from 147 m to 216 m and finally to 227 m in width, and has also been re-handed and modified in the three fully extracted panels to date. The application of LTCC in panels A1, A2, A3 and now A4 has been very successful both from a coal resource recovery point of view and also in the management of the principal hazards of spontaneous combustion and strata control. This paper focuses on the geotechnical aspects of the application of LTCC at Austar Coal Mine and also reviews some advances in general strata control management at the mine.