Title: Lessons learned from research about methane explosive gas zones in coal mine gobs

Authors: Jürgen F. Brune; John W. Grubb; Gregory E. Bogin; Jonathan A. Marts; Richard C. Gilmore; Saqib A. Saki

Addresses: Colorado School of Mines (CSM), 1500 Illinois Street, Golden, CO 80401, USA ' Colorado School of Mines (CSM), 1500 Illinois Street, Golden, CO 80401, USA ' Colorado School of Mines (CSM), 1500 Illinois Street, Golden, CO 80401, USA ' Colorado School of Mines (CSM), 1500 Illinois Street, Golden, CO 80401, USA ' Colorado School of Mines (CSM), 1500 Illinois Street, Golden, CO 80401, USA ' Colorado School of Mines (CSM), 1500 Illinois Street, Golden, CO 80401, USA

Abstract: Coal mine longwall gobs contain explosive methane gas zones (EGZs) that can cause mine fires and explosions when EGZs extend into active mining areas. The tragic explosion at the Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia in April 2010 cost 29 miners' lives and may have been caused by this mechanism. This paper summarises the significant research findings from five years of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling research conducted at the Colorado School of Mines (CSM) under funding from the US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). CSM research has shown that EGZ formation can be effectively controlled by progressive sealing of the gob and injecting nitrogen where necessary.

Keywords: underground coal mines; longwall gobs; mine explosions; EGZs; EGZ formation; explosive gas zones; methane; mining industry; computational fluid dynamics; CFD; modelling; gob sealing; nitrogen injection; mine fires.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMME.2016.076498

International Journal of Mining and Mineral Engineering, 2016 Vol.7 No.2, pp.155 - 169

Received: 08 Jun 2015
Accepted: 06 Jan 2016

Published online: 10 May 2016 *

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