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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 0038-223X


LOMBARD, K.. Re-aligning the cutting sequence with general support work and drafting a support sequence at Simunye Shaft. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2015, vol.115, n.4, pp.251-264. ISSN 2411-9717.

'Roof support awaiting time' (RSAT) is a term used at Goedehoop Colliery's Simunye Shaft to describe the potential production time lost due to the continuous miner (CM) standing idle waiting for roof support to catch up. Investigations revealed that in 2013, Simunye Shaft had approximately 1400 hours of RSAT, which suggests that the mine could have potentially produced an additional 280 000 t of coal. This project consisted of two parts. Firstly, the causes of the high RSAT and means to improve the situation were investigated. Secondly, as insisted by mine management, the CM cutting sequence was investigated as a possible cause of high RSAT. Machine-related challenges due to the roofbolter installing support too slowly, geological conditions (mostly hard roof conditions and slips), logistical challenges pertaining to the CM cutting sequence, man-related challenges related to operator fatigue, re-support, operator inexperience, and the absence of support targets were identified as main contributors to RSAT. Furthermore, results showed that the roofbolters in the sections at Simunye Shaft are slower than the CMs. A target of 28% reduction in RSAT was set. Experts from Kennametal and Fletcher were consulted to find solutions for the identified causes. In total, eight solutions for RSAT were identified, but the solution that contributed most significantly to reducing RSAT was to use hard roof drill bits as a standard product at Simunye Shaft. Calculations showed that by using hard roof drill bits, RSAT can be reduced by 43%, which is more than the specified 28% target. The cutting sequences at Kriel, Greenside, and Simunye Shaft, together with three newly developed cutting sequences, were simulated using the UCMS (Underground Coal Mining Simulation) program. A re-aligning principle was incorporated into the newly developed cutting sequences to align the cutting sequences to general support work and to reduce RSAT. A decision matrix revealed that a cutting sequence in which boxing takes place in R3 (third road to the right of the belt road) and in which the realigning principle has been incorporated will be the best option for Simunye Shaft. The recommended cutting sequence will lead to a 5% increase in production.

Keywords : roof support awaiting time; CM cutting sequence; simulation; hard roof drill bits; support sequence.

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