Design and Efficiency of Dust and Water Barriers in Modern Australian Coal Mines

Underground » Detection and Prevention of Fires and Explosions

Published: January 96Project Number: C4030

Get ReportAuthor: Birger Jensen, Terry O'Bierne | ACIRL

The objectives of the first stage of this project which has now been completed were to examine the strengths and weaknesses of current stonedust and water barrier designs as they apply in Australian coal mines and to begin to identify if improvements might be made and what further research would be necessary to enable them. The first stage has largely centred on a wide literature review to determine the parameters under which barriers operate.

Some of the key findings of this work are that:-

  • Current Australian general stonedusting regulations and practice incorporate small safety margins in cases of very strong explosions and review of them is justified.
  • Size distribution of stonedust requires experimental review.
  • Nevertheless, general stonedusting, when properly applied, appears to be the most reliable combative solution to explosion propagation in coal mines.
  • Passive explosion barriers will not provide protection for personnel in and near the flame initiation zone.
  • Passive barriers are unlikely to arrest methane explosions at the coal face, weak coal dust explosions, explosions of hybrid mixtures of methane and dust, or very strong explosions.
  • Weak coal dust explosions can propagate in well stonedusted roads if there is a film of as little as 0.2mm of coal dust present on top of the inerted material.
  • Stonedusting inbye of passive barriers can reduce the chance of them operating effectively by reducing the strength of the explosion as it reaches them. This issue requires further consideration.
  • There is no evidence to suggest that changing the location of passive barriers as currently specified in regulations will improve their reliability.
  • There is evidence to suggest that the use of distributed barriers may be more effective for explosion suppression, but these are not permitted by all regulations at present.
  • The effectiveness of passive barriers is further compromised by the presence of equipment such as monorail systems and conveyor belts in the barrier zone.
  • Because ignitions at the face in continuous miner development headings may lead to development of powerful dust explosions there is a case established to investigate the use of small triggered barrier devices fitted to continuous miners.

The report goes on to make recommendations for future research directions which may be pursued if Stage 2 of this project takes place. The results of Stage 1 provide ample information to establish a case for review of existing regulations and practice both for the continued use of passive barriers and current general stonedusting practice.


Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C27039True Triaxial Strength Of Coal Measure Rocks And Its Impact On Roadway Stability And Coal Burst Assessment

Rocks in the ground are subject to a range of stresses. The stresses...

C3063Underground Vehicle Design Standards And Statutory Implications

The Australian underground diesel vehicle fleet has evolved since di...

C3064Conveyor Belting And Lagging Shear Characteristics - Drive Drum Slip

The primary aim of this project was to investigate the relationsh...


Open Cut

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

Recently Completed Projects

C26029Geological Controls On Fluorine And Phosphorus In Bowen Basin Coals

Increasing global restrictions on fluorine in product coal prompted ...

C28033Raw Ash To Yield Relationships

Correct outcomes in yield predictions for product ash from coal bore...

C27038Establishing Self-Sustaining And Recognisable Ecological Mine Rehabilitation

In recent years an increasing interest has been placed on mining ope...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C27064Dry Beneficiation Using FGX And X-Ray Sorters

Conventional dry processing methods engage a single beneficiation de...

C26010Multi-Sloped Screening Efficiency With Changing Strokes, Frequencies, Feed Solids And Feed Rates-Pilot Plant Study

Optimising multi-sloped screens is often described as an art and the...

C28059Impact Of Water Quality In Coal Handling And Preparations Plants

The objective of this project was to deliver a concise reference do...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C23052Novel Stone Dust Looping Process For Ventilation Air Methane Abatement

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

C27054Optimisation Of A Thermal Flow Reversal Reactor For Ventilation Air Methane Mitigation

Ventilation air methane (VAM) generally accounts for 50-85% of the t...

C28076Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids (SAMIL) - Phase 2 Demonstration In A Packed Bed Reactor

An alternative approach to high temperature oxidation of ventilation...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas 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


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