Empirical approaches for design of web pillars in highwall mining: Review and analysis
Pillar design is of paramount importance to any underground mine design. Oversized pillars may lead to loss of coal while undersized pillars may lead to instability. While underground pillars are mostly square and rectangular, highwall mining pillars are long and narrow, as they are formed after driving parallel entries in the seam from the highwall. These pillars are termed as web pillars. The overall stability of highwall depends upon these pillars as no other supports are provided in the entries. Web pillar differs from usual coal pillars in respect of w/h ratio being <3.0, with an exceptionally longer length compared to its width, to the tune of 50-500 m. Several empirical coal pillar strength equations developed for rectangular pillars are still being used with some modifications to adapt to web pillars. Review and analysis of these empirical approaches for determining web pillar strength along with a numerical approach for web pillar design are discussed in this paper. Their application to some Indian case studies is also discussed. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.