Computer simulation of roadway development to support longwall mining
Longwall mining is an efficient and cost effective means of extracting coal from underground seams, however, effective longwall operation requires that roadway development must be kept sufficiently ahead of the longwall advance. The development process requires the coordination of a range of mining equipment operating in challenging working conditions. For efficient operation to be possible the equipment used must be matched to the local environment and the mining conditions. A number of options can exist for laying out and configuring any roadway development system, however, evaluating the likely performance of these options can be difficult. Dynamic system simulation provides a proven technique to study the interaction between components of a complex system, in addition, dynamic system simulation has the ability to explicitly allow for the randomness and variability of, for example, shuttle car tramming time, loading and discharging time and the time to complete support operations. A computer simulation system based on the dynamic system simulation approach has been developed to allow users to model roadway development operations in a typical two heading configuration. The simulation model provides the user with options to investigate the likely impact changes in equipment configuration and/or operational procedures may have on performance indicators such as development rates, time to complete a pillar and equipment utilisation.