Prevention and control of fires and explosions in undergaround coal mines
An extensive research program has been undertaken over recent years to reduce the risk of fi res and explosions in underground coal mines. The research projects have integrated extensive fi eld studies and computational fl uid dynamics (CFD) models of goaf gas fl ow behaviour to develop optimum proactive strategies to prevent and control spontaneous combustion and fi res in goaf areas. The research has developed a fundamental understanding of the air and gas fl ow behaviour in goaf areas and provided a detailed understanding of the eff ects of various geological, ventilation, operational and inertisation design parameters on goaf gas distribution. The research investigations have also provided a bett er understanding of the fl ow behaviour of gases from the heating in the goaf areas and the eff ect of various gas and spontaneous combustion control technologies and strategies. Field studies conducted at a number of underground coal mines have shown that the proactive strategies were successful in reducing oxygen ingress into the goaf areas and in reducing the risk of fi res and explosions in the underground coal mines. The results of various research investigations and guidelines for reducing the risk of fi res and explosions in underground coal mines are presented in this paper.