RPMGlobal has introduced the newest functionality to its XPAC Underground Coal Solution (UGCS) suite: gas drainage scheduling.
The addition, developed with the input of some of Australia’s largest underground coal operators, allows users to directly include factors that influence drainage times – like gas content and permeability – into the in-situ model.
“When users design a series of longwall panels, gas drainage stubs can be inserted automatically, along with the associated patterns that will be drilled from them,” the company said of the new release.
The drill pattern envelopes adjust dynamically based on the longwall dimensions and gate road properties, but users are also free to refine everything in the model. The rigs used to perform the gas drainage drilling are treated as independent resources and are scheduled in the same way as continuous miners and longwalls.
Rules govern when the drill sites become available and once they have been drilled, the schedule starts tracking drainage status as soon as each pattern has been drilled.
As RPMG noted, mitigation strategies for gas drainage challenges are typically required several years in advance if they are to be effective. A range of tools have been provided to analyse these challenges and communicate when they need to be implemented.
“Animations highlight the status of drill sites, so it’s clear when they are available for drilling, when they are drilled and when they are being drained. The drainage status of all development is also displayed, and warnings are generated automatically whenever mining is impacted by incomplete drainage,” the company noted.
According to David Batkin, RPM head of Product Strategy, it has been hard because of disparate systems to consider gas drainage at the same time as the mine’s production schedule.
“The gas drainage functionality of UGCS provides a step-change in scheduling gassy underground coal mines. The solution tightly integrates the drainage activities into both the mine design and the scheduling processes. It makes gas drainage a key consideration every time the schedule is updated,” he said.
He added that the new release was designed to make it as practical as possible for mines with gas drainage challenges.
“This solution has been produced in collaboration with underground miners who face these challenges day in and day out. They have helped us take a very practical approach to the problem.”
The gas drainage module will be available in the next release of the Underground Coal Solution.