ACARP ACARP ACARP ACARP
Open Cut

Coal Subsurface Mapping for Open Cut Selective Mining

Open Cut » Geology

Published: October 18Project Number: C25035

Get ReportAuthor: Andrew Strange and Zak Jecny | CSIRO

A reliable coal seam sensing system is required to improve the productivity of selective mining in open cut mining operations. Currently, operators are required to manually adjust the material extraction depth based on various cues, such as sight or machine vibration as the implement cuts the strata. Manual seam selection can be complex or tedious which often leads to a diluted coal product. Furthermore, the ability to visually observe changes in the geology at night time or in poor weather conditions can be near impossible if the coal looks similar to the waste material. Although assistive guidance systems exist for shovels and excavators, these systems are typically uploaded with extraction surfaces generated from existing geophysical logs which only provide sparse detail about the geology.

This project developed a prototype subsurface scanning system that can measure coal thickness from the top of the exposed coal surface down to a coal-interburden interface. The system consists of a sled that houses ground penetrating radar and position sensors, towed by a remotely controlled robotic vehicle. The system scans the open cut surface in a grid-like fashion after the surface has been prepared, but prior to mining. A digital surface model of the underlying coal to interburden interface is generated which can be uploaded to an in-cab guidance system.

The key research outcomes include the following:

  • A workflow was developed where information generated by a GPR-based sensing system that scans the exposed seam roof surface can be processed and integrated into production to provide guidance information for operators with minimal impact to production.
  • The level of interference and clutter that different materials and a robotic tow vehicle introduce into GPR sensor data was investigated.
  • A custom sled was designed and manufactured whereby no noticeable interference is introduced into the sensor data.
  • Custom software to acquire and process sensor data was developed that allows the generation of a digital surface model within hours of survey completion.
  • Three surveys were conducted at a production mine site and the performance of the sensing system was assessed. Whilst the system did not meet the desired accuracy tolerance specification of ±5% requested by site personnel, there are questions regarding the validity of the accuracy assessment method. Furthermore, lessons learnt from these surveys provide insight as to how the performance can be improved.
  • The full system was successfully demonstrated at a production mine site with a dozer operator mining using a digital surface model for in-cab machine guidance.

The benefits described by the dozer operator that evaluated the digital surface model during survey #3 provide strong motivation for ongoing technology development. It is recommended that ongoing research and development be pursued with the following activities:

  • Conduct additional surveys incorporating the lessons learnt from survey #3 such as using the GPR scanning system to measure the elevation of the mined floor.
  • Trial the system in the application of coal roof detection to measure the remaining overburden stand-off thickness after a blast cycle.
  • Implement autonomous control for the robotic towing vehicle and develop path planning software to enable mine sites to survey areas automatically.
  • Adapt the system so that it can be machine-mounted to provide layer thickness measurements for real-time sensing whilst mining.

Underground

Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C21013Improving Cavity Prediction On Longwall Faces Through A Combination Of Reliable Convergence, Canopy Attitude And Leg Pressure Monitoring

Most Australian coal mines have shield leg pressure monitoring in real t...

C24014Distributed Acoustic Conveyor Monitoring

CRC Mining have investigated the application of fibre optic Distribu...

C25054Distributed Acoustic Conveyor Monitoring - Phase 2

This project is phase 2 of the distributed acoustic sensing project ...

Underground

Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C23053A Study Of Sustainability And Profitability Of Grazing On Mine Rehabilitated Land In The Upper Hunter NSW

This study was initiated by the Upper Hunter Mining Dialogue (UHMD) ...

C25035Coal Subsurface Mapping For Open Cut Selective Mining

A reliable coal seam sensing system is required to improve the produ...

C24030Verification Of The Vertical Distribution Of Dust From Mining Activities

Advanced Environmental Dynamics has undertaken a two year project in...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C26007 Revised Dustiness And DEM Test Method (Update Of AS4156.6) Part 2:Preparation

In 2015 project C23054 investigated and reviewed the Australian Stan...

C22033Advanced Control And Optimisation Of DMC Operation

The objective of this project was to develop, implement and demonstr...

C24045Adaptation Of Coal Grain Analysis To Improve Flotation Yield Estimation

Yield estimation from resource data is notoriously difficult. Facto...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Recently Completed Projects

C25042Mechanistic Model Of Coke Development In A Coke Oven Situation

The standard approach to evaluate the potential of coals or blends t...

C25050Overview Of Outcomes Of Research Supported By ACARP And NERDDC On The Utilisation Of Coking Coals, 1978-2014

The Australian coal industry has funded a substantial body of work o...

C25046Using High Range Mass Spectrometry To Study The Link Between Coal Structure, Coke Strength And Thermoplastic Chemistry In Blends

This project investigated the use of Laser Desorption/Ionisation tim...

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C24061Proof-Of-Concept Photocatalytic Destruction Of Methane For Coal Mining Fugitive Emissions Abatement

Australia's fugitive emissions in 2015 were 41 Mt CO2-e (representin...

C23052Novel Stone Dust Looping Process For Ventilation Air Methane Abatement - Phase 3

This multi‐phase project is concerned with the mitigation of m...

C19054VAM Enrichment With A Two-Stage Adsorption Process

Treatment of ventilation air methane (VAM) with cost-effective technolog...

Mine Site Greenhouse Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community

NERDDC

National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook

NERDDC