Publication Details

Black, D. J. (2019). Review of coal and gas outburst in Australian underground coal mines. International Journal of Mining Science and Technology, 29 (6), 815-824.


Outburst of coal and gas represents a significant risk to the health and safety of mine personnel working in development and longwall production face areas. There have been over 878 outburst events recorded in twenty-two Australian underground coal mines. Most outburst incidents have been associated with abnormal geological conditions. Details of Australian outburst incidents and mining experience in conditions where gas content was above current threshold levels are presented and discussed. Mining experience suggests that for gas content below 9.0 m 3 /t, mining in carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) rich seam gas conditions does not pose a greater risk of outburst than mining in CH 4 rich seam gas conditions. Mining experience also suggests that where no abnormal geological structures are present that mining in areas with gas content greater than the current accepted threshold levels can be undertaken with no discernible increase in outburst risk. The current approach to determining gas content threshold limits in Australian mines has been effective in preventing injury from outburst, however operational experience suggests the current method is overly conservative and in some cases the threshold limits are low to the point that they provide no significant reduction in outburst risk. Other factors that affect outburst risk, such as gas pressure, coal toughness and stress and geological structures are presently not incorporated into outburst threshold limits adopted in Australian mines. These factors and the development of an outburst risk index applicable to Australian underground coal mining conditions are the subject of ongoing research.



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