Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

Sahar Ardehali, Naj Aziz, Habib Alehossein, Matthew Bowerman, Matt Robbins, A case of Longwall coal mining productivity & safety optimisation, Proceedings of the 2021 Resource Operators Conference, University of Wollongong - Mining Engineering, 10-12 February 2021, University of Southern Queensland, 317-324.


ABSTRACT: This paper presents a study, the design and implementation of the Longwall Remote Operations centre that incorporates all aspects of automation for Longwall and coal clearance systems.

Developing the existing Longwall technology strategy and the design of coal transferring conveyors to smart systems incorporating emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, automation and business strategy development.

The design phase of the project is structured to bring together the overall findings of the diagnose phase, business strategic direction, value case and options analysis to develop an overall project that covers people, technology, systems and process for the automated control of the Longwall. As part of this process a draft implementation plan that includes risk and change management, capability transfer and a roadmap for optimisation is included.

The site engagement team cooperates closely with the analysis team on collecting real data and analysing data in-depth by considering safety regulation and analysis of the business value case for incorporating any current and proposed automation technologies. The achieved designs introduced the opportunity to incorporate in the future of the mining industry as one of the main pillars of Australia’s economy. A key objective is to remove people, as far as practically possible, from potentially hazardous operational areas through applying remote operations and control concepts. There is a strong value case for this change. In a Longwall operation this change reduced exposure to underground operational hazards by some 50,000 hours per year, add 3 hours per day to operations, and increase cutting rate by 150 tonnes per hour.

The strategy and design apply to limited mines and their successful outcomes provides a wide approach and an open discussion platform for the current mining industry and make us propose a new strategy for coal clearance methodology.

This paper proposes a practical strategy to revolutionise the conveyor mining industry via implementing Innovation, Technology and Digitalisation and open LEAN management techniques, automation and artificial intelligence based on the real data outcomes.