25th International Ground Control Conference on Ground Control in Mining, 2006
Authors: Tim Ross and Bo Yu (AAI) and Chris Nyikos (Mountain Coal Company, LLC)

Several shear failures were observed in Shaft #1 at the Mountain Coal Company, LLC, West Elk Mine, after mining longwall Panel 23, 1,100 ft to the east of Shaft #1. It was speculated that this shear damage could be related to differential ground movement caused by in situ stress relief from the “stress shadow” of the caved zone above longwall Panel 23. A numerical study was conducted to assess the possibility of the shaft shear damage being caused by in situ stress relief and the potential for additional damage to Shaft #1 and two other nearby shafts, due to mining nearby longwall Panel 24. Three-dimensional (3D) models were built in FLAC3D to simulate past and future mining near shafts, the estimated local anisotropic and directional horizontal stresses, and the overlying variable surface topography. The numerical analyses indicated that stress relief due to mining Panel 23 caused the shear damage to Shaft #1and that additional damage to Shaft #1 and the other two shafts, would likely result from mining longwall Panel 24. Additional shear damage was documented in Shaft #1 when longwall Panel 24 was mined, confirming the results of the numerical analyses.

Dowloadable PDF:  Analytical Investigation of Shaft Damages at West Elk Mine

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