Peter Henderson, engineering manager for underground operations, Glencore (Australia)

During 2017, one of the Glencore longwalls in Australia was faced with a tough situation. An excessively high concentration of carbon dioxide was found in a section of the current longwall block. This concentration was so high, the risk of injury due to coal outburst was intolerable. The area of high risk was approximately 200 m of retreat. Two options were considered: move the longwall around the high-risk area or mine through the area with no people on the longwall face. The latter option was selected based on shearer floor steering using LASC-enhanced horizon control protocols. As many functions as possible were transferred to a room on the surface that became known as “the bunker.” Not only did this method of mining successfully mine through the high-risk zone, but the mine continued to use this method even when people were allowed back on the longwall face. This presentation discusses the positives and negatives from this experience and other initiatives Glencore has undertaken since.