Insight into proactive inertisation strategies for spontaneous combustion management during longwall mining of coal seams with various orientations

Publication Name

Energy Sources, Part A: Recovery, Utilization and Environmental Effects


Spontaneous combustion of coal occurs in the longwall (LW) goaf during mining cycles due to coal oxidation at low temperatures and air ingress. Coal seam orientations, dictated by the elevations of maingate (MG) and tailgate (TG) and the height of working face and starting-up line, significantly impact the gas distribution in the goaf. Despite this, there has been limited study on the effects of coal seam orientations on spontaneous heating management. To fill this knowledge gap, extensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modeling was conducted based on the actual conditions of an Australian underground coal mine and verified with onsite gas monitoring data, after which extensive parametric studies of how coal seam orientations influenced gas distribution were conducted. Simulation results indicate that coal seam orientations significantly impact spatial gas distribution in the LW goaf and the development of proactive goaf inertisation strategies. Regardless of coal seam orientations, nitrogen performs better than carbon dioxide in reducing the oxidation zone area. In addition, at least 1.5 m3/s of nitrogen is required to effectively prevent spontaneous heating, and the area ratio of oxidation zone to active goaf is approximately 10%, reducing by about 15% compared to scenarios without inertisation. The modeling results shed insight into the goaf gas distribution characteristics under various coal seam orientations and provide guidance on developing corresponding proactive inertisation strategies for managing spontaneous heating in the goaf, thus improving mining safety.

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University of Wollongong



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