Subsidence from coal mining activities



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Background review

Subsidence from coal mining activities

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.

June 2014






Copyright


© Copyright Commonwealth of Australia, 2014.

creative commons logo. attribution 3.0 australia (cc by 3.0).

Subsidence from coal mining activities, Background review is licensed by the Commonwealth of Australia for use under a Creative Commons By Attribution 3.0 Australia licence with the exception of the Coat of Arms of the Commonwealth of Australia, the logo of the agency responsible for publishing the report, content supplied by third parties, and any images depicting people. For licence conditions see: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/au/

This report should be attributed as ‘Subsidence from coal mining activities, Background review, Commonwealth of Australia 2014’.

The Commonwealth of Australia has made all reasonable efforts to identify content supplied by third parties using the following format ‘© Copyright, [name of third party] ’.

Enquiries concerning reproduction and rights should be addressed to:

Department of the Environment, Public Affairs

GPO Box 787 Canberra ACT 2601

Or by email to: public.affairs@environment.gov.au

This publication can be accessed at: www.iesc.environment.gov.au


Acknowledgements


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.

Disclaimer


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).

While reasonable efforts have been made to ensure that the contents of this publication are factually correct, the Commonwealth and IESC do not accept responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the contents, and shall not be liable for any loss or damage that may be occasioned directly or indirectly through the use of, or reliance on, the contents of this publication.


Addendum


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.

Contents


Summary 6

Abbreviations 10

Glossary 12

1Introduction 16

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

5.2Grouting 57

5.3Panel and pillar extraction 57

6Coal mining subsidence regulations 58

6.1New South Wales 58

6.2Queensland 59

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

8References 65

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






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