Strata Behaviour in Longwall Retreating -A Comprehensive Comparative Analysis During Production And Salvaging Phases

  • Dadi Saicharan
  • Mr. Vinay Kumar Patel


Understanding the cantilevers formed by thick, massive beds in the near-seam overburden above longwall panels and the associated loads and strata fracturing effects developed during caving (main and periodic weightings) are key elements for the successful implementation of longwalls. Such caving mechanisms rely on the geotechnical conditions within the panel. In India, the majority of longwall downtime and/or roof failures were caused by a lack of knowledge on overburden caveability, in particular when the main and periodic weightings will impact the face and longwall support selection to effectively mitigate such weightings. Godavari Valley Coal Fields is no exception as longwall faces were adversely affected due to the presence of thick, massive beds in the near-seam overburden at both Godavarikhani (GDK) 7 and 9 Incline mines. In contrast, overburden weightings were negotiated successfully in GDK10A and Adriyala Longwall Project (ALP) mines by detailed geotechnical studies, the use of adequate longwall support capacities, and effective operational practices. Thirteen longwall panels with varying face width, at different depths have been extracted under massive sandstone beds of 18 m to 28 m thickness at GDK 10A and ALP mines. This study elucidates that the main roof weighting interval decreases with an increase in face width and attains a constant value with further increases in face width under the same geo- mining conditions. In addition, this study also concludes that with increases in face width, the periodic roof weighting interval decreases and shield loads increase. Similarly with increasing panel width to depth ratio, the main and periodic roof weighting intervals decrease but shield loads again increase. Lastly, the strata behaviour of the longwall face retreated along up-dip direction is demonstrated. The results of this paper improves the mechanistic understanding of the impact of face width, depth and main roof thickness on periodic weighting and associated roof control problems on the longwall face.