Economic Investigation of Australian Longwall Ventilation Methods


Ventilation is being given increasing attention with respect to both the importance of maintaining a safe operating environment in underground coal mines and minimisation of the costs associated with the operation of and capital required for air movement. In order to satisfactorily address these two requirements the real costs of ventilation must first be established. A economic investigation of longwall ventilation draws on previously established longwall ventilation methods and identifies and outlines a framework from which to evaluate the costs of a ventilation network. The identified Australian longwall ventilation methods are based on a review of current practice. An analysis of the ventilation techniques used to manage the critical ventilation issues experienced provides an understanding of the engineering solutions currently utilised. With a greater understanding of the dependent nature of these issues and the existing solutions a methodology can be established for the optimum design of a longwall ventilation system. When combined with a working knowledge of existing or anticipated ventilation constraints this process will facilitate ventilation network optimisation and allow for improved management methods through increased understanding. While establishing a path to achieve a long term goal of optimum longwall ventilation design many issues can be identified as having both design and fundamental economic implications. One such issue is the utilisation of two or three (or more) headings in development. Analysis draws on a comparison of current Australian and North American and includes consideration of development method, number of stoppings, leakage over length of gateroad and anticipated development rates. Through the analysis of current practices with a focus on various characteristics of ventilation methods an economic model can be constructed to provide important aspects of a more generic economic ventilation model. A generic district longwall ventilation model is used to establish the framework within which to identify and characterise the different costs associated with ventilation. From this model it is anticipated that existing longwall ventilation systems can be evaluated and compared. This generic model will also provide a base from which to identify, test and evaluate fundamentally new longwall ventilation models outside of current practice.


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Australia; Longwall Ventilation Methods; Mines; Ventilation

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


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© 2001 Queensland Mining Industry, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2001