Design concerns of room and pillar retreat panels
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Design concerns of room and pillar retreat panels

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  • Alternative Title:
    Int J Min Sci Technol
  • Description:
    Why do some room and pillar retreat panels encounter abnormal conditions? What factors deserve the most consideration during the planning and execution phases of mining and what can be done to mitigate those abnormal conditions when they are encountered? To help answer these questions, and to determine some of the relevant factors influencing the conditions of room and pillar (R & P) retreat mining entries, four consecutive R & P retreat panels were evaluated. This evaluation was intended to reinforce the influence of topographic changes, depth of cover, multiple-seam interactions, geological conditions, and mining geometry. This paper details observations were made in four consecutive R & P retreat panels and the data were collected from an instrumentation site during retreat mining. The primary focus was on the differences observed among the four panels and within the panels themselves. The instrumentation study was initially planned to evaluate the interactions between primary and secondary support, but produced rather interesting results relating to the loading encountered under the current mining conditions. In addition to the observation and instrumentation, numerical modeling was performed to evaluate the stress conditions. Both the LaModel 3.0 and Rocscience Phase 2 programs were used to evaluate these four panels. The results of both models indicated a drastic reduction in the vertical stresses experienced in these panels due to the full extraction mining in overlying seams when compared to the full overburden load. Both models showed a higher level of stress associated with the outside entries of the panels. These results agree quite well with the observations and instrumentation studies performed at the mine. These efforts provided two overarching conclusions concerning R & P retreat mine planning and execution. The first was that there are four areas that should not be overlooked during R & P retreat mining: topographic relief, multiple-seam stress relief, stress concentrations near the gob edge, and geologic changes in the immediate roof. The second is that in order to successfully retreat an R & P panel, a three-phased approach to the design and analysis of the panel should be conducted: the planning phase, evaluation phase, and monitoring phase.
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