Health and Safety CONFERENCE

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Spontaneous Combustion of Coal: Detection and Control in Underground Coal Mines

Professor Jianming Wu
Visiting Professor of University of Wollongong and Director of AST Australia

A/Professor Ting Ren</br/>Director of Centre of Infrastructure Protection and Mining Safety, University of Wollongong

Spontaneous combustion (sponcom) of coal remains a major safety issue for underground coal mining operations. Recent heating incidents in Australia further highlight the need of improving current knowledge and practices of sponcom management to ensure safety and productivity of coal mines extracting coal seams that are prone to spontaneous heating.

This presentation will provide some the fundamental theory and practices in the early detection, prevention and control of spontaneous combustion of coal. Case studies based on Chinese and Australian coal mines will be presented to demonstrate a range of techniques, including radon detection, jel and fly ash injection materials, that can be practically used for coal heating and fire management.

The presentation will also include studies of goaf gas flow dynamics based on computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling. Based upon fundamental fluid flow governing equations, computational models are developed to investigate the impact of different ventilation layout and ventilation parameters on goaf gas flow characteristics and in particularly, oxygen leakage and ingress patterns, and hence identification of high sponcom risk zones. Inertisation strategies, using both nitrogen and carbon dioxide, are modelled to optimise operational parameters (e.g, injection flow rate and location etc) for active longwalls and seal-off operations.