Improving stress environment in development entries through an alternate longwall mining layout

  • Pengfei Wang
  • Jingli Zhao
  • Guorui Feng
  • Zhiqiang Wang
Original Paper


Most coal mines in China use the longwall mining system. High stresses are frequently encountered around development entries at deep mines. This paper presents an alternate longwall mining layout for thick coal seams to minimize ground control problems. In a conventional longwall panel layout, development entries on both ends of the panel are located along the floor, and a coal pillar (chain pillar) is left between adjacent panels to ensure stability. Gateroads on either end of a longwall panel using the layout proposed in this paper are located at different vertical levels within a thick coal seam or in a geologically split coal seam for improved stability. The headgate entry/ies are driven along the floor while the tailgate entry/ies are driven along the roof. Therefore, a longwall face has a gradually elevated or curved section on one end of the panel. For the adjacent panel, the development entry may be located directly below the development entry of the previous panel or may be offset horizontally with respect to it. Based on physical and numerical modeling approaches, it is demonstrated that the stress environment for development entries employing the longwall layout is significantly improved; ground control problems are therefore minimized.


Longwall mining Stress environment Curved section Numerical modeling Tailgate entries 



Special thanks to Y. P. Chugh, Professor Emeritus and visiting professor at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, who performed significant review and editing of the manuscript.

Funding information

Financial support for this research was provided by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 51404270), Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities (No. 2011YZ10), and China Scholarship Council (No. 201506430011).


  1. Brady BHG, Brown ET (2006) Rock mechanics for underground mining, Third edn. Springer, Netherlands, pp 147–156Google Scholar
  2. Chen SJ, Guo WJ, Cheng GQ, Zhao TP (2012) Research on creep supporting effect of deep strip pillar. J Mining Saf Eng 29(1):48–53 in Chinese.Google Scholar
  3. Dai HY, Wang SB, Yi SH, Kong LY, Hao YB (2012) Influential laws on strata and ground movement of face-separated pillars at a great depth. Chin J Rock Mech Eng 29(1):48–53 in ChineseGoogle Scholar
  4. Fan XM, Zhao JL, Wang YB, Wang ZQ (2013) Whole seam longwall mining with split-level Gateroads and its application in Xishan coal mine area. China coal industry publishing house, Beijing in ChineseGoogle Scholar
  5. Ghabraie B, Ren G, Zhang XY, Smith J (2015) Physical modelling of subsidence from sequential extraction of partially overlapping longwall panels and study of substrata movement characteristics. Int J Coal Geol 140:71–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Guo XQ, Dou LM, Xu BG, Tang SH, Weng X (2014) Technology of preventing rock burst by lateral layout roadway near Goaf. Coal Sci Technol 42(2):1–5 in ChineseGoogle Scholar
  7. Hoek E, Carranza T, Corkum B (2002) Hoek-Brown criterion-2002 edition. [C]// Proceedings of NARMS-TAC Conference. Toronto: [s. n.] 267–273Google Scholar
  8. Hoek E, Diederichs MS (2006) Empirical estimation of rock mass modulus. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 43(2):203–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Itasca (2007) Fast lagrangian analysis of continua in 3 dimension, version 3.1, User’s Guide. Minneapolis, USA.Google Scholar
  10. Li DZ, Gao HL, Wang HW (2013) Technology of fall prevention antiskid to equipment in fully mechanized caving coal long face with large angle Coal Sci Technol 41(8) Supp:75-77 in ChineseGoogle Scholar
  11. Liu HW (1999) Mechanics of material. Higher Education Press, Beijing in ChineseGoogle Scholar
  12. Niu WF (2012) Prospect of roadway layout under conditions of thick coal seam with large dip angle. Sci Technol Inf (11):109-110 in ChineseGoogle Scholar
  13. Peng SS (2015) Topical areas of research needs in ground control—a state of the art review on coal mine ground control. Int J Mining Sci Technol 25(1):1–6CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Qian MG, Shi PW, Xu JL (2010) Ground pressure and strata control. China University of Mining and Technology Press, Xuzhaou in ChineseGoogle Scholar
  15. Schumacher FP, Kim E (2013) Modelling the pipe umbrella roof support system in a western US underground coal mine. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 60:114–124Google Scholar
  16. Shabanimashcool M, Li CC (2012) Numerical modelling of longwall mining and stability analysis of the gates in a coal mine. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 51:24–34CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Shen B, King A, Guo H (2008) Displacement, stress and seismicity in roadway roofs during mining-induced failure. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 45(5):672–688CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Shi YW (2003) Ground control theory and technology of coal mining panel. University of Mining and Technology Press, Xuzhou in ChineseGoogle Scholar
  19. Suchowerska AM, Merifield RS, Carter JP (2013) Vertical stress changes in multi-seam mining under supercritical longwall panels. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 61:306–320Google Scholar
  20. Wang JA, Junling J (2016) Criteria of support stability in mining of steeply inclined thick coal seam. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 82:22–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Wang PF, Zhao JL, Wang ZQ, Sun ZW, Xu CH, Song ZY, Su Y (2017) Mechanism of gob-pillar interaction for subcritical panels and its application. Chin J Rock Mech Eng 36(5):1185–1200Google Scholar
  22. Wang XP (2011) Discuss and practice of elaborate mining technology in Zhenchengdi mine. Coal Science and Technology 39(5):9-11 in Chinese.Google Scholar
  23. Wang ZQ (2009) Study on ground pressure behavior in LMSG in thick coal seam. China University of Mining and Technology, Beijing, Dissertation in ChineseGoogle Scholar
  24. Xie HP, Zhou HW (2012) Research and the thinking of deep coal mining and limit mining depth. J China Coal Soc 37(4):535–542 in ChineseGoogle Scholar
  25. Yan S, Bai JB, Wang XY, Huo LJ (2013) An innovative approach for gateroad layout in highly gassy longwall top coal caving. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 59:33–41Google Scholar
  26. Yang JW (2011) Equipment selection and mining technique of fully mechanized top coal caving mining in steep inclined seam of Wangjiashan mine. Coal Sci Technol 04:48–50+64 in ChineseGoogle Scholar
  27. Zhang JC (2014) Practice of LMSG in thick coal seams. Inner Mong Coal Econ 12:108+161 in ChineseGoogle Scholar
  28. Zhao JL (1998) Whole seam longwall mining with split-level gateroads (LMSG) in thick coal seams. China Patent: ZL98100544.6 in Chinese.Google Scholar
  29. Zhao JL (2004) Triple sections mining technology (TSMT) in LMSG in thick coal seams. China Patent. 2004100395750 in Chinese.Google Scholar
  30. Zhao JL (2014) Development and outlook of 3-D stagger arrangement roadway layout technology. Coal Engineering 46(1):1–3 in ChineseGoogle Scholar
  31. Zhao JL, Wang PF, Su Y (2017) An innovative longwall mining technology in Tangshan coal mine. China Minerals 2017 7(1):14. Google Scholar
  32. Zhu WS, Li Y, Li SC, Wang SG, Zhang QB (2011) Quasi-three-dimensional physical model tests on a cavern complex under high in-situ stresses. Int J Rock Mech Min Sci 48(2):199–209CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Saudi Society for Geosciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pengfei Wang
    • 1
  • Jingli Zhao
    • 2
    • 3
  • Guorui Feng
    • 1
    • 4
  • Zhiqiang Wang
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Mining EngineeringTaiyuan University of TechnologyTaiyuanChina
  2. 2.College of Resource and Safety EngineeringChina University of Mining and Technology (Beijing)BeijingChina
  3. 3.Russian Academy of Natural SciencesMoscowRussia
  4. 4.Shanxi Engineering Research Center for Green MiningTaiyuanChina

Personalised recommendations