This background review was commissioned by the Department of the Environment on the advice of the Interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining. The review was prepared by Sinclair Knight Merz Pty Ltd and revised by the Department of the Environment following peer review.
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Subsidence from coal mining activities, Background review
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This background review was commissioned by the Department of the Environment on the advice of the Interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining. The review was prepared by Sinclair Knight Merz Pty Ltd with input from Don Kay and revised by the Department of the Environment following peer review by Professor Joan Esterle (University of Queensland) and relevant Queensland
, New South Wales and South Australian Government departments.
The views and opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Australian Government or the Minister for the Environment or the Interim Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Coal Mining or the statutory Independent Expert Scientific Committee on Coal Seam Gas and Large Coal Mining Development (IESC).
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Changes to state government departments have occurred since the finalisation of this report by the authors. The Queensland
, New South Wales and South Australian Government agencies were contacted and updated information provided in September 2013; however, no guarantees can be made as to the completeness of these updates. Up-to-date information should be sourced from the relevant department.
On 1 January 2013, the Queensland Water Commission (QWC) ceased operations. The Office of Groundwater Impact Assessment (OGIA) retains the same powers as the former QWC under Chapter 3 of the Water Act 2000 (Qld).
Sinclair Knight Merz Pty Ltd is now Jacobs SKM.
1.1Background to the report 16
1.2Underground coal mining in Australia 16
2Subsidence due to coal mining 19
2.1Underground coal mining methods 19
2.2Underground mechanisms causing subsidence 27
2.3Subsidence profile 29
2.4Subsidence parameters 31
2.5Surface subsidence development 33
2.6Factors influencing mine subsidence 36
3Predicting subsidence due to coal mining 43
3.1Empirical prediction methods 43
3.2Analytical or numerical prediction methods 44
3.3Assessing potential impacts of subsidence due to coal mining 46
4Monitoring subsidence induced by longwall coal mining 49
4.1Ground survey methods 49
4.2Remote sensing methods 50
4.3Sub-surface subsidence monitoring in boreholes 51
5Minimising and remediating subsidence induced by longwall coal mining 56
5.1Panel backfilling 56
5.3Panel and pillar extraction 57
6Coal mining subsidence regulations 58
6.1New South Wales 58
7Review of findings 60
7.1Past and current subsidence research 60
7.2Subsidence investigation methods 60
7.3Differences between data and research in New South Wales and Queensland 62
7.4Key findings 63
Appendix A: longwall mining in New South Wales and Queensland 71
Appendix B: Southern Coalfield subsidence controversy 1900 to 1974 77
Appendix C: detailed assessment of geological factors influencing subsidence 80
Appendix D: the incremental profile method for subsidence prediction 88
Appendix E: case studies 91