Super Model 2000 Bowen Basin

Underground » Geology

Published: August 02Project Number: C9021

Get ReportAuthor: Joan Esterle, Renate Sliwa, Guy Le Blanc Smith, Joel Yago, Ray Williams, Shuxing Li, Roussos Dimitrakopoulos | CSIRO Exploration & Mining, GeoGAS, University of Queensland

The aim of the Supermodel 2000 project was to deliver a regional three-dimensional model of the Moranbah-German Creek Coal Measures along the western limb of the Bowen Basin from integrated mine-scale databases and regional basement geology. It provides a snapshot of the available data and knowledge as at December 2000 and provides the first set of regional maps showing coal seam thickness and interburden distributions in the context of structure and basin evolution. This model is the framework from which to examine the relationships between structure, interburden character, stress and gas contents that will aid in regional area selection and local hazard recognition for coal resource extraction. The approach is novel in that it is the first time since initial exploration that a formalized approach to data sharing and presentation at this scale has been implemented.

The approach of the project was to quilt together a ?Supermodel? consisting of three regional tiles (Northern: Wards Well to Grosvenor; Middle: Peak Downs to Norwich Park; and Southern: German Creek to Kestrel mines) that display the regional and local structure of the main mineable seams, their thickness and splitting patterns and their interburden thickness distributions. A regional correlation schema of the coal seams across all tiles was developed to implement this approach. Where available, the sedimentary character of the interburden was included to project ground conditions due to the distribution of weak and strong lithologies and their association with tectonic structures. Within this framework, the distribution of virgin gas content and composition was examined to identify domains of similarity with respect to depth and interpreted permeability using coal rank, type and cleat orientation with respect to regional horizontal stress.

Data consisted of mine site drilling (37,250 drill holes) in which coal seams had been logged, open cut and underground mapping of faults, joints and coal cleat, available geophysics (seismic, aeromagnetics, and gravity) and stress measurements. Gas content data came from exploration drilling (415 drill holes) and is presented as full seam composites normalized to 15% ash at 20º C and 101.3 kPa for the Goonyella Middle seam in the northern tile and the German Creek seam in the southern tile.

The results are:

  • A structural interpretation of faulting style, severity and timing within the coal measures that is underpinned by an assessment of regional basement structure and available stress measurements;
  • The recognition of basement controls on the thickness distribution and splitting patterns of coal seams and their interburden character along the western limb of the basin;
  • Predictive relationships between the distributions of weak lithologies and jointed and faulted ground adjacent to strong sandstone dominated roof;
  • Predictive relationships between low to high gas domains, seam structure, projected permeability and stress;
  • Regional correlations of seams and a series of isopach maps of superseams and interburdens for each of the tiles.

The above relationships are presented in a series of maps and cross sections that are described in this report and contained in a poster set included on CD. Super-seam correlations are provided for the Goonyella Lower-Dysart-German Creek-Lilyvale seam and the Goonyella Middle-Harrow Creek-Aquila/Tieri seam, which are the main mineable seams in this region. Also included in digital format are maps of super-seam structure, thickness and splitting patterns and interburden distributions. Where data were dense enough, seam thickness and interburden maps of the stratigraphically higher intervals to the P-Pleiades seam and the Goonyella Upper seam are also included.

This project had the support of the coal industry, in particular BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance, North Goonyella Coal Pty Ltd, Oaky Creek Coal Pty Ltd, Anglo Coal Pty Ltd, Capricorn Coal Management Ltd, Pacific Coal Pty Ltd, Kestrel Coal Pty Ltd, Santos Ltd and CH4 Pty Ltd, who provided invaluable data, ideas, in-kind support and/or finance. The Queensland Department of Natural Resources and Mines also provided access to regional data and open file information. Geoscience Australia provided access and use of regional gravity data. Invaluable discussions were also held with Chris Fielding of University of Queensland. Two honours theses (Ronan, 2000 and Hill, 2000) were supported as part of this project.


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