Approaching the underground safely from the surface

Strata consolidation is a crucial aspect to the safety of any underground mining operation, as it provides stability around mine openings.

Traditionally in underground coal and hard rock, when you do strata consolidation, the practise has always been to approach it from underground.

This usually involves a lot of material handling, contact with chemicals, dangerous equipment and unpredictable surfaces in the underground environment.

There are also a lot of exclusion zones and a high number of people in confined spaces.

In a 37 hour shift, 12 hour day and night shifts, there is a lot of product being moved in and out of the mine. This takes a lot of people and equipment. There is also a lot of drums of materials being lifted across rough ground and steel pallets.

A new approach focuses on pumping grout and injection chemicals from the surface. For Minova Australia, the introduction of the ‘surface to seam’ method for strata consolidation offers mining companies a way to ensure the safety of its miners, which diverts from the conventional way.

As an example, the Minova pumpable crib system has been specifically developed to provide enhanced standing and roof support in underground coal mining.

Pumping cribs from the surface means reduced installation times with a bag filled in a single operation in about 12-15 minutes. This means reduced safety risk exposure for operators who carry loads to the work area and install cribs.

To improve the efficiency of the process bulk handling is utilised which minimises the number of trips being made. The aim is to reduce the exposure staff have to hazardous environments, machinery and chemicals.

Surface to seam methodology removes a machinery, which always has the potential to hurt people, utilises less people directly involved in the process so personnel can work on other areas of mine sites. Minova anticipates that the process can cut the human footprint in half.

To learn more about Minova “surface to seam” visit https://www.minovaglobal.com/apac/products/surface-to-seam/

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