Standardisation of Geological & Geomechanical Assessment at Underground Coal Mines in Canada

CIM MineSpace 2001
Steve forgeron, C. Mark, David John Forrester,
Abstract Standardisation of Geological & Geomechanical Assessment at Underground Coal Mines in Canada

by S. Forgeron1, C. Mark2 and D. J. Forrester3

1 S. Forgeron, Consultant, Sydney N.S. (former Chief Geologist - Cape Breton Development Corporation, Glace Bay, N.S.)
2 C. Mark. Team leader - Rock Mechanics, disaster Prevention & Response Branch, NIOSH, Bruceton, Pa, USA
3 D.J. Forrester, Manager - Sydney Office, Vaughan Engineering (former Program Manager Coal Mining Health & Safety, CANMET), Sydney N S


The underground coal mining industry in Canada is small, geographically spread and has recently suffered difficult times not only from complex mining conditions but also through financial challenges. In 1998, CANMET Mining & Mineral Sciences Laboratories (MMSL) closed their Coal Mining Health & Safety Program (CMHS). However, after consulting with CMHS stakeholders, CANMET initiated a new research initiative known as the Underground Coal Mining Safety Research Collaboration (UCMSRC). UCMSRC is a collaborative ‘in-kind consortium' which brings together all of the principal stakeholders such as industry, labour, regulators, inspectors and universities, in jurisdictions where underground coal mining is active (Federal and Provincial -Nova Scotia, Alberta and British Columbia).

Following a dialogue in the "Technical Forum" meetings in late 1998, a geotechnical assessment project was established. Its objective is "to establish a 'best practice' base-line for both conducting geological & geomechanical assessments and to apply findings in geotechnical design and operation of underground coal mines in Canada; and to make the findings readily available via computer data base/internet". It comprises three components: geological assessment, geomechanics base-line study and a web-based geotechnical data base. The paper reports on the first two components of the geotechnical assessment project. The work forged further international cooperation between the coal industry and CANMET in Canada and NIOSH in the USA. The paper firstly outlines the underground coal operations in Canada in the late 1990s. It then summarizes the geological assessment, followed by an application of NIOSH geotechnical methodology in a Canadian geotechnical base-line study. The paper concludes with a brief summary and an indication of future direction of the work.
Keywords: Underground coal mining, Canada, Ground control, Safety
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