U/G Coal Mining in Xinjiang - Mining Method Selection

Willie Xisheng Yin

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis (University Course)


In 1997, China initiated the third national coal field prospecting and exploration program. The explorations conducted on the program confirmed Xinjiang’s position as possessing the most coal resources in China. Based on the exploration results, it was estimated that Xinjiang has coal resources of 1,800 billion tonnes, accounting for 40 per cent of the national total. However, the latest coal production data showed that in 2011, Xinjiang’s coal production was only about 120 million tonnes, well behind Inner Mongolia which became the biggest coal producing province in recent years. If the resource figure is used to project the future production potential, it is very exciting and encouraging in the long run. Xinjiang’s four basins, Junggar, Tarim, Turpan, and Yili are all well-endowed with the coal resources. The Xishanyao Formation is Yili basin’s main coal-bearing strata. The coal seams are very thick and concentrated. The coal seam structure is stable. The thickness of the coal- bearing strata is 124 to 230 m, average 177 m. There are 4 to 9 coal seams in this Formation. The coal seams thickness is 23 to 40 m, average thickness of 32 m. Generally the coal deposits are flat and massive. The dip of the coal-bearing strata is flat to flatly inclined. The geological conditions are very favourable for longwall production. The mass-production longwall mining methods have been introduced into China for a long time and have been perfected to suit China’s operating conditions. Production capacity per working face per mine in Ordos, Inner Mongolia and Yulin, Shaanxi has well passed the 10 Mt/y mark. The longwall top coal caving method has been proven very successful in Inner Mongolia and Shanxi, and Shaaxi, especially well-suited to the tabular and massive deposits with flat dip angle. The single-pass high reach longwall mining method is another perfect option if the coal and roof cavability is in doubt. The local regulatory framework specifically stipulates the minimum production capacity for the new coal mining projects must be 650,000 tonnes per year. To meet the production target, coal mine mechanization as well as the mass production methods must be implemented and applied. This offers the opportunity to the coal mining equipment manufacturers. This project is designed to understand the resources situation in Xinjiang, its geological settings, which are critical in determining the mining method selection, and identify the needs of the mining companies in their equipment selection and applications. Two real-world cases are presented in this report. The cases are deliberately chosen for their differences so that they can be compared and contrasted to understand the pros and cons of their operation. Because they are operating under different geological conditions, a clear understanding can be derived as to the mining method they have chosen for their respective operations. The limitation of the project is the scale of the research. This research project may serve as a foundation for future more in-depth researches.
Translated title of the contributionU/G Coal Mining in Xinjiang - Mining Method Selection
Original languageEnglish
  • Moser, Peter, Supervisor (internal)
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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