The Australian black coal industry has experienced a rapid expansion over the past few decades due to the development of large open cut coal mines. It is has been estimated that seven percent of coal to be mined in open cut coal mines in Australia is not recovered. About 200 Mt of coking and thermal coal is currently produced by open cut methods. If this estimate is accurate, 14 Mt of coal is lost due to loss and dilution. This thesis project deals with loss and dilution issues for open cut coal mining. Issues targeted in the recommendations of this thesis will hope to solve or aid in the issues encountered in mining practice associated with coal loss and dilution.
The coal loss and dilution problem is associated with mining practices used to remove overburden to expose the coal seam and mining the coal seam. Various factors such as dragline damage to top of coal, coal edge loss from low wall failure and blast damage lead to significant loss and dilution. Thorough analysis of these issues including modelling the effects of different stripping techniques and overburden blasting practices will be used in the project.
As a tool to approach the problem, software developed by ACARP Project C8036, Mine Plant Interaction will be used to simulate a two seam open cut coal mining process. Geological and costing data has been sourced from the database at Goonyella Riverside Mine.