Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

Jason Emery, Ismet Canbulat, Chengguo Zhang, The fundamentals of modern ground control management in Australian underground coal mines, Proceedings of the 2021 Resource Operators Conference, University of Wollongong - Mining Engineering, 10-12 February 2021, University of Southern Queensland, 26-41.


ABSTRACT: Underground coal mining is inherently hazardous, with uncontrolled ground failure regarded as one of only several critical risks for multiple fatality events. Development, implementation and management of overarching systems and procedures for maintaining strata control is an important step in mitigating the impact of ground failure hazards at a mine site operational level. This paper summarises the typical Proactive Ground Control Management System (PGCMS) implemented in various Australian underground coal mines. Australia produces approximately 100 million tonnes a year of metallurgical and thermal coal from approximately 30 of the world’s safest longwall mines operating in New South Wales and Queensland. The increased longwall productivity required to achieve both high levels of safety and profitability, places significant emphasis on the reliability of pro-active ground control management for longwall mining operations. Increased depths, adverse geological conditions, elevated variable stress regimes and weaker ground conditions, coupled with an industry wide need for increased development rates continue to make ground control management challenging. Ground control management is not only about ground support and pillar design though but is also a structured process that requires a coordinated effort from all levels of the workforce to both minimise the occurrence of adverse geotechnical events and mitigate the potential risks when they do occur. The PGCMS presented in this paper is proven to provide both a safer and more productive mine environment through minimisation of unplanned delays. The critical elements of the method are presented in detail and demonstrate the utility and value of a ground control management system that has potential for implementation in underground coal mining globally.