This study investigates the individual processes comprising underground room and pillar mining and the interactions between them, specifically those between the cutting and haulage processes. The study includes the development of a computer-based simulator with the ability to specifically predict the dynamic interactions between the processes. The study focusses on one particular operation – Greenside Colliery’s Thandeka section. The simulator is calibrated and predicts the productivity of the Thandeka section to within an acceptable degree of accuracy. The calibrated simulator is then used to investigate the influence of: the number of shuttle cars used within the section; the degree of matching used when filling shuttle cars, and; the increase of cutting rate with a constant continuous miner loading rate. The simulator is further used to predict the required and actual haulage capacity at each place within the section and the excess haulage capacity was quantified. The simulator is then used to approximate by what proportion the shuttle car speeds could be reduced for each place in order to eliminate the excess haulage capacity without reducing the productivity of the place or the section as a whole. The simulator predicts that the average speed of the shuttle cars could be reduced by 18.3% without any negative impact on production. The study concludes by suggesting that by eliminating excess haulage capacity by reducing shuttle car speeds, room and pillar mine operators could improve the safety of the section environment, decrease the total operating cost per tonne of the shuttle cars and decrease the average and peak amount of energy consumed by the section. It is recommended that further research be conducted on reducing the cutting speed of the continuous miner during periods that the section is haulage-limited. This would have similar benefits of reduced total operating cost per tonne on the miner and a reduction in the average and peak energy consumed by the section. It is also postulated that shuttle cars could be slowed even more should the haulage route be analysed. It is finally recommended that the relationship between shuttle car operating cost and shuttle car speed be researched in order to quantify the benefit proposed in this study.
|Translated title of the contribution||An Investigation into the Excess Haulage Capacity at Greenside Colliery’s Thandeka Section using Computer Simulation|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|