Sealing Underground Heatings and Mine Fires

WMS has developed specific capability over the last 16 years to assist clients with the control and re-entry of mines following a mine explosion, underground heating or mine fire incident. This capability is unrivalled in our field. It involves our novel use of our Rocsil foam product and is available for emergency deployment to deal with critical mine incidents.

WMS has been directly involved in several remote sealing operations in NSW, QLD and NZ used to control and re-enter mines following a mine explosion, underground heating (spontaneous combustion) or mine fire incident.This involved all phases of the work and would typically involve the following steps:

  • Obtaining a full understanding of client needs
  • Evaluation of options/solutions
  • System development
  • Participation in risks assessments
  • Surface and underground trials
  • Training
  • Mobilisation of equipment and materials
  • Implementation
  • Demobilisation and review

RAPID SEALING WITH ROCSIL ® FOAM

ROCSIL ® FOAM is a versatile product that has been successfully used to rapidly seal mines or critical areas of the mine directly in-seam or remotely via boreholes or shafts.

ROCSIL ® FOAM has excellent self-supporting characteristics and fast setting time making it an ideal product for these type of applications. It can also be used on sloping ground and with mine services such as conveyor structure or pipes remaining in-situ. A study by NIOSH in USA found Rocsil to be superior to conventional cementitious grout for remote sealing operations. See here for more details on this study.

For remote sealing, special mixing heads are designed to effectively deliver ROCSIL ® FOAM into mine roadways or shafts without the need for labour to be deployed underground.

At San Juan mine in USA the longwall panel was successfully isolated and then recovered using ROCSIL ® FOAM plugs. The mine then went on to use ROCSIL ® FOAM for goaf stabilsation as an alternative to longwall recovery mesh. See here for more details on these novel applications of ROCSIL ® FOAM at San Juan mine.

ROCSIL ® FOAM can also be pumped behind longwall supports using stand pipes to restrict ventilation flow and reduce oxygen levels in the goaf. This method can reduce the potential for a major heating event.

MINE FIRES

ROCSIL ® FOAM was successfully used to rapidly install temporary seals into drift and shaft mine entries at North Goonyella Mine in response to a mine fire.

For further details on mine fire recovery methods see here.

MINE RE-ENTRY

Once the critical incident is under control, WMS can then assist clients with mine re-entry operations. An assessment for mine re-entry using ROCSIL ® FOAM plugs at Pike River mine in NZ is available here.

For further details on our products and services in this area see vent plugs and seal repairs and surface to seam chemical systems.