Strata Consolidation

Strata consolidation activities are undertaken using Marithan ® polyurethane (PUR) and Fenoflex ® chemical products. Since 1993 WMS has developed extensive capability to apply PUR and later Fenoflex ® in a wide array of challenging mining environments.

Marithan® polyurethane (PUR) and Fenoflex ® are two component products used to consolidate and confine highly fractured strata. PUR is a versatile product that can be used in a wide array of applications from binding together fractured strata to sealing water inflows in strata and around ventilation seals and bulkheads. Fenoflex ® is a phenolic resin product with similar useto PUR but with reduced health risks.

HISTORY AND PROVEN CAPABILITY

Polyurethane (PUR) was first used in Europe in the 1960’s. The technology was developed mainly in Germany and France where underground coal mining was conducted in more challenging deeper coal seams.

In 1992 WMS was granted the exclusive rights in Australia for the Willich PUR and Silicate Resin System. The first application of PUR by WMS was in 1993 at BHP’s Teralba mine. Then in October 1999, WMS obtained sole distributorship of the Weber range of PUR products. This versatile product now has widespread use across the Australian underground coal industry. Fenoflex ® was introduced by WMS in 2005 to offer a phenolic resin strata binding product to industry.

WMS achieved a 25 year milestone for PUR services to the Australian coal industry in 2018.

PROCESS

Marithan ® polyurethane (PUR) and Fenoflex products are injected into the strata in limited quantities as specified by licence conditions and are therefore not suitable to be used as bulk cavity fillers. For PUR temperatures can reach up to 150oC whilst curing so a 200kg maximum hole quantity limit is applied for coal strata. For Fenoflex this limit is greater at 600kg.

Holes are drilled into the strata using an injection pattern specified by the mine that is suited to the degree of ground destabilisation. A standard pattern would involve an array of 4-10m long 43-55mm diameter holes drilled into the rib and angled up into the roof. Expansion packers are fitted to either fibre glass or steel hollow injection bolts. Long holes of 10-20m or multi-injection chemical systems are also available.

EQUIPMENT

Chemicals are delivered to the work site in bulk QDS pods and mixed at the work site. Marithan ® polyurethane  (PUR) and Fenoflex ® are applied using a metering pump and a mixing gun. Separate delivery hoses are used for resin and catalyst products.

LICENCING

The undertaking of a polymeric processis a licenced activity in NSW coal mines. WMS holds a current NSW licence for the application of both Marithan ® polyurethane (PUR) and Fenoflex ®. These licences specify minimum standards for the safe application of these products including exclusion zones, workplace and health monitoring requirements.

Marithan ® polyurethane (PUR) and Fenoflex ® operations in QLD currently follow the same licence requirements as in NSW until a recognised standard is developed and implemented.

PROCEDURES AND TRAINING

WMS is a Quality Endorsed Company and our management system has been developed in accordance with AS/NZS ISO 9001:2015.

WMS has developed comprehensive procedures and industry leading competency-based training for this licenced activity. WMS operators undertake all pumping and application activities whilst chemical handling and transport activities can be under taken by either WMS operators or mine operators that are chemical awareness trained and assessed.

MONITORING AND TESTING

WMS operates to an OHS Monitoring Plan that is reviewed annually to ensure workplace and health monitoring is effective and consistent with the latest technology, standards and methods available.

For more details on our strata consolidation products see our Marithan ® polyurethane (PUR) and Fenoflex ® product pages.