Report: APP CMHS Project 1

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4.2.1. Australia

The Australian underground coal mining industry is characterised by a commitment and disciplined approach to risk based management of hazards. This has evolved through strong action initially on the part of the regulator and more recently (10 years) as a tripartite approach with cooperation from the unions and industry to achieve a safer workplace. Two key strategies have built this approach:

  • discipline through the implementation of risk based management systems and innovation of safety technologies through industry support in the funding of research (such as ACARP)

  • research bodies (such as CSIRO, SIMTARS and CRC Mining), manufacturer development and mine or contractor implementation.

Leading safety technologies include:

  • advancements in gas drainage drilling – surface and in-seam, downhole surveying and directional drilling

  • prediction and reduction in intensity of outbursts through structure mapping, gas content determination, gas drainage and rigorous control procedures

  • innovative strata management through design and computer modelling; monitoring with tell tales, extensometers, pull tests and instrumented bolts; validation; automation and innovation such as self drilling bolts

  • mining automation, particularly in longwall operations.

Critical needs for future development are deep mining technologies which can control hazards associated with higher stresses and gas levels than currently experienced, and continuation of mining automation technologies e.g. automated roadway development.

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