Risks associated from coal seam gases and products of combustion gases when conducting exploration and site investigations in abandoned mine workings

Robert Butcher

Many abandoned coal mines and the adjacent fractured strata contain poisonous, noxious or flammable gases. Unmined seams also have gases. Other gases are formed from low or high temperature oxidation when oxygen is introduced into mined areas that have previously been sealed when boreholes or other penetrations intercept the workings or fractures zones. These gases can escape into surface work areas causing flammable conditions and / or gas exposure health risks.

Many flammable gas ignition sources are found on the surface around investigation sites and underground in boreholes and mine workings. The weather plays an important role in driving oxygen into underground workings or allowing flammable or toxic gases to escape into work places. Consideration of potential gas and combustion issues need to be taken into consideration when preparing risk assessments and work methods for investigation sites and activities.

This talk will discuss mine gases, combustion, monitoring, and techniques to reduce impacts during drilling.

Speaker biography

Bob obtained a Bachelor of Mining Degree from Sydney University in 1976 and has worked in the mining industry in various capacities ever since. He has progressed from Technical Assistant to Shift Undermanager, to Undermanager, to Deputy Mine Manager, and to Mine Manager.

He worked at Angus Place and Baal Bone Colliers prior to joining Thiess in 2001. At Thiess, he continued in the mining field, holding various positions including production and operations manager at the Southland Mine, operations manager for various other projects, development of Principal Hazard Management Plans for NSW and QLD mines, and subsidence manager for the Hunter Expressway Alliance.

Engineers Australia members participating in AGS technical sessions can record attendance on their personal CPD logs. Members should refer to Engineers Australia CPD policy for details on CPD types, requirements and auditing guidelines.