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Slip-and-Fall Accidents During Equipment Maintenance in the Surface Mining Industry

Description: Report issued by the U.S. Bureau of Mines discussing mining accidents during equipment maintenance. As stated in the abstract, "this U.S. Bureau of Mines report identifies potential causes of slip-and-fall accidents occurring during surface mine equipment maintenance and describes the relative roles of direct worker behavior and machine design" (p. 1). This report includes tables, and illustrations.
Date: 1990
Creator: Albin, Thomas J. & Adams, W. P.

Longwall Gate Road Stability in a Steeply Pitching Thick Coal Seam with a Weak Roof

Description: The U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) conducted ground pressure analysis of a wide abutment-type chain pillar in a two-entry gate road of a Western U.S. coal mine with an extremely weak immediate roof. About 15 m of fragile, low-strength mudstone lies between the seam and the lowest competent roof member. Three- and two-entry gate road designs with several pillar sizes and various secondary support systems have been employed to improve tailgate-entry stability, with varying results. This report discusses gate road layout and performance and secondary support effectiveness. The results of the pillar pressure study are compared to pillar loading predicted by a widely used pillar design method and to similar studies in other mines. A stability evaluation of the most recent longwall headgate, using the USBM Analysis of Longwall Pillar Stability (ALPS) method, indicates marginal stability in first-panel mining and instability in second-panel mining. The ALPS method and the USBM Coal Mine Roof Rating system are used to evaluate tailgate-mining stability of the previous gate roads and to determine pillar and entry width and top coal thickness criteria for tailgate stability in future panels.
Date: 1995
Creator: Barron, Lance R. & DeMarco, Matthew J.

Application of Field Measurements and Computer Modeling to Evaluate Deep Mine Shaft Stability in Northern Idaho

Description: Abstract: Researchers at the U.S. Bureau of Mines have developed personal-computer-based data acquisition, instrumentation, and mine visualization and modeling techniques to evaluate a mine accessway in a deep hard-rock mine in northern Idaho. These techniques were applied to a mine shaft in a large silver mine that has been in operation for many years. A very deep, rectangular, timber-supported shaft extending to depths exceeding 2.3 km (7,500 ft) had been deforming continuously as a result of nearby mining, resulting in operational problems. Preliminary visual observations and rock and support monitoring confirmed that severe diagonal distortion was occurring. Extensive field measurements and data analysis confirmed initial observations, provided insights into the cause of deformation, and defined a general approach to structural modeling. Computer analysis of the problem was initiated by developing a three-dimensional model of the terrain. This represented a volume of rock approximately 80 km3 (40 x 1010 ft) and an area on the surface surrounding the mine 9 km2 (3 square miles). Based on this model, a three-dimensional, finiteelement analysis was conducted to establish boundary conditions for sequentially more detailed two- and three-dimensional submodels of the shaft area. Results from the computer study are being used to develop new approaches to mine design and to provide design guidelines for deep mine accessways subject to severe rock-mass loading conditions.
Date: 1996
Creator: Beus, Michael J.; Orr, T. J. & Whyatt, J. K.

Effects of Remote Drop and Pumpdown Placement on Cellular Concrete

Description: Abstract: The hazards to the public posed by abandoned mine shafts are well documented. As private development encroaches on previously mined areas, the potential for fatalities and serious injuries from abandoned mine shafts increases. The U.S. Bureau of Mines has conducted research into cellular concrete as a material for sealing these openings. The current work involves testing the characteristics of cellular concrete before and after it had been pumped or dropped from different heights into a simulated mine shaft. Cellular concrete was pumped vertically up to and subsequently dropped from heights of 18 and 37 m into concrete forms. Wet density measurements were made at multiple sampling points in the test circuit. Air content determinations and uniaxial compressive strength testing were conducted. Research results showed significant loss in air content and changes in the characteristics of cellular concrete during pumping or dropping from various heights. Recommendations on effective use of cellular concrete for sealing abandoned mine shafts are made.
Date: 1995
Creator: Boreck, D. L. & Miller, R. E.

Petrographic and Geochemical Analyses of Leach Samples from Artillery Peak, Mohave County, Arizona

Description: Abstract: The first step in determining whether Mn can be recovered by in situ leaching is to develop and test a selective lixiviant. Two column leach tests and one core leach test were conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Mines on Mn oxide ore using aqueous sulfur dioxide (SO2) as the lixiviant. The column tests showed that aqueous SO2 could selectively dissolve available Mn oxides from calcite-rich ore in a heap leach system. However, the core test showed that calcite gangue side reactions can have pronounced negative effects on the likelihood of successful in situ leaching of a calcite-rich ore with aqueous SO2. Petrographic and geochemical analyses showed that both Mn (IV, II) oxides and calcite were dissolved. The abundance of dissolved Ca caused precipitation of gypsum. Acid consumption by calcite dissolution caused a rise in pH that caused the S02/S species to shift to SO32- (sulfite), which hindered reductive dissolution of Mn oxide. Gypsum precipitation did not affect complete leaching of the rock fragments in the column tests; however, it plugged the natural permeability in the core. Manganese recoveries were high for the column tests and low for the core test.
Date: 1995
Creator: Brink, Susan; Blake, Rolland & Marozas, Dianne

Reducing Respirable Dust Levels During Bag Conveying and Stacking Using Bag and Belt Cleaner Device

Description: Abstract: The U.S. Bureau of Mines has designed and tested a system called the Bag and Belt (leaner Device (B&BCD) to reduce dust levels in and around the bag conveying and stacking process. The device physically cleans either 22.7 kg (50 lb) or 45.4 kg (100 lb) paper bags by using a combination of brushes and air jets. It is completely self-contained and is kept under negative pressure by a baghouse to ensure that dust and product removed from the bags during cleaning does not flow into the work environment and contaminate workers. The bags travel through the device on a chain conveyor, which permits any product or dust cleaned from the bags to fall into a hopper at the bottom of the device and be recycled back into the process via a screw conveyor. Once exiting the B&BCD, the outside of the bags and the conveyor are essentially product and dust free. The B&BCD was evaluated at two mineral processing plants to determine reductions with the device in use. The results of both field evaluations showed that the amount of product removed from the outside of the bags varied from 77 to 93 pct.
Date: 1995
Creator: Cecala, Andrew B.; Timko, Robert J. & Prokop, Alexander D.

Dust Control Considerations for Deep-Cut Mining when Utilizing Exhaust Ventilation and a Scrubber

Description: Abstract: The U.S. Bureau of Mines conducted a series of laboratory tests to investigate the effectiveness of using a flooded-bed scrubber with exhaust ventilation in deep-cut faces of up to 12.2 m in length. An experimental test program to determine the impact on respirable dust levels resulting from changes in face airflow, curtain setback distance, operator positioning, and operating parameters of the external spray system on the miner was completed. Gravimetric sampling was conducted in the immediate return and at three sampling locations on the off-curtain side of the entry. Statistically significant differences in dust levels on the order of 0.5 to 1.2 mg/m3 were observed between specific sampling locations and changes in several test parameters. Several of the statistically significant relationships were found at the inby operator position, which is the least desirable of the operator locations that were tested. The relative effectiveness of the dust control at the other sampling locations was not severely impacted with the scrubber operating. Dust control was the primary focus of this research; results indicated that a flooded-bed scrubber and exhaust ventilation can be a viable system for extracting deep cuts up to 12.2 m in length. The impact on methane was not evaluated.
Date: 1996
Creator: Colinet, Jay F. & Jankowski, Robert A.

Dust Sources and Controls for Multiple-Machine Longwall Faces

Description: Abstract: Longwall mining in lower seam heights may necessitate the use of single-drum shearers to overcome size constraints associated with standard double-drum shearers. To avoid the operational problem of clearance in the tailgate entry with one single-drum shearer, two single-drum machines can be operated on the same face, with each shearer responsible for mining a predefined portion of the face. However, utilization of two shearers on the same face necessitates the positioning of one shearer operator and a jacksetter in the return air of the upwind shearer, thus complicating respirable dust control on the longwall. In an effort to evaluate the unique dust control problems associated with this type of mining, the U.S. Bureau of Mines conducted dust surveys on two multiple-machine longwall operations. Sampling was done to quantify major sources of respirable dust and to identify potential solutions to problem areas. Sampling results indicate that the cutting sequences utilized on multiple-machine faces may have to be designed to minimize dust exposure, as opposed to optimizing productivity or facilitating operational requirements. Also, state-of-the-art dust control techniques typically found on double-drum shearer longwalls must be employed to help minimize the exposure of all face personnel to traditional dust sources.
Date: 1995
Creator: Colinet, Jay F. & Spencer, Ellsworth R.

Midnite Mine Summary Report

Description: The Midni'e Mine is an inactive, hard-rock uranium mine in Stevens County, WA. Oxidation of sulfide-containing minerals in the ore body produces large quantities of acidic water. The U.S. Bureau of Mines was directed by Congress in Fiscal Year 1994 to perform technological research on the treatment of radioactive water and disposal of treatment residues at the Midnite Mine and en overall site reclamation. This Report of Investigations summarizes the studies that were completed on: 1) treatment alternatives for uranium contaminated acid mine drainage, and 2) overall site reclamation, including: ground water flowpaths in the bedrock, radiation, and waste rock reactivity. As an aid to site reclamation, a Geographic Information System database was also produced that contains available current and historic data and information on the Midnite Mine. This report explains the scope of the Bureau's study and summarizes the results of its investigations.
Date: 1996
Creator: Dean, N. E.; Boldt, C. M. K.; Schultze, L. E.; Nilsen, D. N.; Isaacson, A. E.; Williams, B. C. et al.

Field Demonstration of Two Pneumatic Backfilling Technologies

Description: Abstract: This U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) report summarizes a field demonstration of pneumatic backfiling technologies conducted at the abandoned Hillside Coal and Iron Slope in Vandling, PA. Researchers demonstrated tro pneumatic backfilling technologies recently developed under the USBM's Abandoned Mine Reclamation Research Program, the Pneumatic Pipefeeder and the High-Efficiency Ejector. Both systems had previously been evaluated at the USBM's subsidence abatement investigation laboratory near Fairchance, PA. The objective of the demonstration was to fill 100% of the abandoned tunnel with backfill stone to prevent further subsidence. The Pneumatic Pipefeeder was used for 21 days, at a rate of 63 to 124 t/d (69 to 136 st/d), to fill 88% of the tunnel. The High-Efficiency Ejector was used for 2 days, at a rate of 125 to 132 t/d (138 to 146 st/d) to fill the remaining 12% of the tunnel. The backfill placed by both systems was tightly compacted. The major problem encountered was wear on the polyethylene pipeline from the abrasion of the high-velocity backfill. The use of heavier steel pipe minimized the problem. A cost analysis for the entire project is given.
Date: 1995
Creator: Dyni, Robert C.; Burnett, Mackenzie & Philbin, David

Development of Coal Combustion Sensitivity Tests for Smoke Detectors

Description: Standard smoldering and flaming combustion tests using small coal samples have been developed by the U.S. Bureau of Mines as a method to evaluate the response of a smoke detector. The tests are conducted using a standard smoke box designed and constructed according to Underwriters Laboratories. The tests provide a standard, easily reproducible smoke characteristic for smoldering and flaming coal combustion, based upon a comparison of the smoke optical density and the response of a standard ionization chamber to the smoke. With these standard tests, the range of threshold limits for the response of a smoke detector and the detector's reliability can be evaluated for nearly identical smoke visibility and smoke physical characteristics. The detector's threshold response limits and reliability need to be well defined prior to the instrument's use as part of a mine fire warning system for improved mine safety.
Date: 1995
Creator: Edwards, John C. & Morrow, Gerald S.

Reactivity Studies During Drying and Relocation of Lead-Zinc-Gold Tailings: Phase 1 - Preliminary Evaluation and Laboratory Testing

Description: The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation requested U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) assistance in developing design data for moving lead-zinc-gold tailings from their current location without disrupting the existing chemically stable conditions. This report presents results of USBM work in determining (1) the minimum required time to air dry the tailings to approximately 20 pct moisture under various drying conditions both in the laboratory and in the field, (2) the degree of oxidation or reduction that occurs during drying, (3) the effect of lime or cement addition before drying, and (4) the likely equilibrium conditions of the dried tailings after deposition at the new location. The limited number of tests performed by the USBM in the available time frame established trends in oxidation levels but did not provide absolute statistical validity of data values. All data from drying and oxidation testing are included in appendices to this report.
Date: 1995
Creator: Froisland, L. J. & Lym, P. B.

3DTOM, Three-Dimensional Geophysical Tomography

Description: Abstract: 3DTOM is a DOS-compatible computer program developed by the Mines U.S. Bureau of for three-dimensional tomographic imaging of the subsurface at mine sites. The program uses the simultaneous iterative reconstruction technique (SIRT) to invert travel- time data and produce maps of wave velocity, or to invert amplitude data and generate maps of wave attenuation coefficients. Either seismic (compressional and/or shear) or electromagnetic (e.g., radio or radar) wave data may be used. Ray tracing in 3DTOM uses several different methods, including ray bending, network theory, and a combination of these. User-defined constraints are important in reducing the mathematical nonuniqueness of inversions based on limited data. 3DTOM permits the use of hard constraints, or soft constraints based on fuzzy logic, to allow for uncertainty in the constraints. Reliable subsurface images are useful in many different mine-related problems, including void detection, fracture detection, fluid monitoring, and qualitative stress evaluation.
Date: 1996
Creator: Jackson, M. J. & Tweeton, Daryl R.

Timing and Duration of Subsidence Due to Longwall Mining

Description: Subsidence data gathered by the U.S. Bureau of Mines over a series of longwall panels in the Pittsburgh Coalbed were studied to obtain insight as to the role of time in the subsidence process. It was found that subsidence began essentially with undermining and was completed within 1 year. The progress of the subsidence was dependent upon location above the panel. Subsidence in the central area of the subsidence trough, where subsidence is the greatest, was about 90 pct complete by the time the face had progressed a distance equal to one overburden thickness beyond a particular surface point. For a point over the rib of the longwall panel, the subsidence was only about 60 pct complete at this time. Data from three other sites in the northern Appalachian Coal Basin were analyzed to determine if an anomaly or the true characteristics of the subsidence process had been observed. All sites behaved similarly in the central portion of the subsidence trough. However, the subsidence of points over and adjacent to the ribs of the longwall panels was site specific. The fact that movement across the width of the panel was not uniform should be taken into account in assessing damages or the potential for damages resulting from mining-induced subsidence.
Date: 1995
Creator: Jeran, Paul W. & Trevits, Michael A.

Structural Analysis of a Mechanized LHD Trench Undercut Caving System

Description: Abstract: This U. S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) report presents results of stress analyses and field observations to investigate the effects of elevated trench drifts on the structural stability of rock mass zones surrounding a production draw drift in a mine utilizing a mechanized load-haul-dump (LHD) trench undercut panel caving system. A two-dimensional boundary-element mine stress model was developed to predict the locations and extent of damaged rock mass zones surrounding draw drifts where adjacent, parallel trench drifts are either elevated or not elevated above the LHD production draw drift level. A Mohr-Coulomb shear-failure criterion was obtained directly from in situ borehole shear test data. Hoek-Brown shear-failure parameter values were computed from borehole-shear and triaxial test data. A procedure is described to estimate these parameters when a rock mass rating (RMR) value and triaxial data on intact samples exist, and no borehole shear test data exist. Results indicate that trench drifts, elevated to the level equal to the height of the LHD production draw drift, would not minimize material damage nor significantly enhance the stability of rib and crown pillar zones surrounding production draw drifts in the mechanized LHD trench undercut caving panel investigated at this mine.
Date: 1995
Creator: Jude, Charles V.

An Adaptive System for Process Control

Description: Abstract: Researchers at the U.S. Bureau of Mines (USBM) have developed adaptive process control systems in which genetic algorithms (GA's) are used to augment fuzzy logic controllers (FLC's). GA's are search algorithms that rapidly locate near-optimum solutions to a wide spectrum of problems by loosely modeling the search procedures of natural genetics. FLC's are rule-based systems that efficiently manipulate a problem environment by modeling the "rule-of-thumb" strategy used in human decisionmaking. Together, GA's and FLC's include all of the capabilities necessary to produce powerful, efficient, and robust adaptive control systems. To perform efficiently, such control systems require a cont element to manipulate the problem environment, an analysis element to recognize changes in the problem environment, and an adaptive element to adjust to the changes in the problem environment. The control system also employs a computer simulation of the problem environment. Details of an overall adaptive control system are discussed. A specific laboratory acid-base pH system is used to demonstrate the ideas presented; all results are from the physical laboratory system and not from a computer simulation.
Date: 1995
Creator: Karr, Charles L.; Gentry, E. J. & Stanley, D. A.

Groundwater Flow Model (GWFM) Development, Midnite Mine, Wellpinit, Washington

Description: This Report of Investigations (RI) is one of several describing work that has been completed by the U.S. Bureau of Mines at the Midnite uranium mine, Wellpinit, WA. Dean (in preparation) describes the entire project history. Four diskettes containing three archives compressed using WINZIP (or PKZIP) accompany the current RI. The ultimate purpose of this research effort was to develop a groundwater flow model (GWFM) for the Midnite Mine that can be utilized by the contractor preparing the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and by other interested parties. The objectives of this study were to (1) develop a shell model of the geology at the site, (2) develop the basis for a GWFM that will meet criteria described elsewhere in this RI and that can be updated with new information generated during the EIS process, and (3) present the results of two steady-state simulations of groundwater flow within the bedrock units. The current GWFM generates nonunique solutions because flow data for the bedrock units currently do not exist. However, the model provides useful results with respect to direction of flow. More data are required to model the bedrock aquifer system accurately. Volmnetric flow rates of the bedrock units should be measured or estimated. Measurements obtained from one or two drains completed in the bedrock in the southern portion of the site should yield these values.
Date: 1996
Creator: Kirschner, Frederick E.

High-Temperature Cyanide Leaching of Platinum-Group Metals from Automobile Catalysts--Pilot Plant Study

Description: From abstract: The U.S. Bureau of Mines Reno Research Center investigated, developed, and patented a high temperature cyanide leaching process for recovering platinum-group metals (PGM) from automobile catalysts. A batch pilot plant was constructed at the center and operated to demonstrate this technology to industry.
Date: 1995
Creator: Kuczynski, R. J.; Atkinson, G. B. & Dolinar, W. J.

Synthesis of Advanced Ceramic Compounds by Intercalation

Description: The U.S. Bureau of Mines investigated the synthesis of advanced ceramics (SiC+AlN, SiAlON, SiC+Al 203 , and Si 3N4 +AlN) from natural clays (kaolin, halloysite, or montmorillonite) by an intercalation and heat treatment method. This process includes the steps of refining a clay, intercalating organic chemicals into its layered structure, drying the intercalated mixture, firing the treated structure at certain temperature ranges in controlled atmospheres to form desired compounds, and grinding the loosely agglomerated structure. Focus of this research is to economically process advanced ceramic structures from abundant natural resources. The advanced ceramic phases produced in this simple treatment are homogeneously distributed at the nanostructure level, and may potentially lead to cost effective manufacturing processes. The intercalation of clay was confirmed by X-ray and BET analyses. The evolution of chemical compositions during carbonization reactions and carbothermal reduction was investigated. The characteristics of refined clays and synthesized powders were studied. Advanced ceramic composites/solid solution have been produced from intercalated clays, without the presence of other compounds.
Date: 1995
Creator: Kwong, Kyei-Sing & Bennett, James P.

Adhesion of Diamond Films on Tungsten

Description: The U.S. Bureau of Mines has investigated the chemical vapor deposition of diamond films on tungsten substrates. The effects of deposition parameters on the adhesion of the films was determined. The films were produced using a hot filament chemical vapor deposition system. Parameters investigated were substrate temperature and methane concentration in the feed gas. Film quality, morphology, and composition were characterized by scanning electron microscopy and Raman spectroscopy. Adhesion testing was performed using an indentation technique, and the results were quantified by relating adhesion to interface fracture toughness. Diamond films with well-faceted crystalline morphology with grain size greater than 1 pm had poor adhesion properties regardless of substrate temperature or methane concentration. Diamond films with smooth morphologies consisting of rounded clusters of small (<0.2 pm) diamond crystallites and amorphous carbon phases displayed much higher adhesion, although the conditions that led to the growth of these films are not understood.
Date: 1995
Creator: Maggs, K. J.; Walkiewicz, J. W. & Clark, A. E.

Rapid Separation of Heavy Rare-Earth Elements

Description: The U.S. Bureau of Mines investigated the separation of heavy rare-earth elements (REE) in an ion-exchange process. An ion-exchange column consisting of two sections, a loading section and a separation section, provides high levels of REE loading and good REE separation with an expected processing cycle of less than a month, while current ion-exchange technology requires more than 5 months. A different resin is used in each section: sulfonic resin in the loading section and iminodiacetic resin in the separation section. The separation section is further divided into two segments: the first conditioned with NH4 and the second with acid. Erbium is loaded onto both segments of the separation column as a retaining ion. Bands of mixed REE eluting between separated bands of pure REE were recycled directly to the column. Without mixed-band recycle, over 80% of the REE eluted from the column was separated into fractions with 99% purity of each element; with such recycle, the percentage of separated elements can be increased to around 90%.
Date: 1995
Creator: Moore, B. W.; Froisland, L. J. & Petersen, A. E.

Reactivity in the South Spoils and Hillside Dump at the Midnite Mine

Description: The Midnite Mine is an inactive open-pit uranium mine located on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Washington State. Drill samples from two large waste rock dumps on the site, known as South Spoils and Hillside Dump, were collected with a Becker hammer drill and evaluated to determine potential of the rock to generate acid mine drainage (AMD). Waste rock at this mine contains both pyrite and uranium, and AMD effects are more complicated on this site than most in that uranium is soluble in both acidic and neutral aqueous solutions. Although AMD protocols identified 26% of the South Spoils samples as potentially acid, under 7% of the spoil samples were actually producing acid. Considerable calcite exists in the South Spoils, and weathering feldspars further contribute to acid neutralization. The Hillside Dump has low concentrations of pyrite and calcite that acid-base accounting protocols would predict to be non-acidic. Accumulation of sulfate in rocks with concentrations of less than 0.3% S causes some of those normally non-acid producing rocks to produce acid in the Hillside Dump.
Date: 1996
Creator: Moore, Bruce W.; Price, Jesse W. & Gardner, Ted

Real-Time Monitoring of Field Measurements for Mine Design: Greens Creek Mine, Admiralty Island, Alaska

Description: Abstract: Researchers at the U.S. Bureau of Mines conducted field investigations at the Greens Creek Mine in southeast Alaska for the purpose of validating computer design of mining methods and assessing real-time monitoring capabilities. The field study required the application of new technology because of the remoteness of the study site, the need for timely acquisition of data, and a limited budget for instruments and data acquisition. Various sensors were installed to monitor rock mass deformation and strain, temperature, SO gas emissions, and blasting. Data were collected through a distributed personal computer network and high-speed modems. These readings were used to develop visualization models of underground metal mining operations and drift-and-fill mining and real-time graphics displays of ground conditions. Results of the field tests showed that it is possible to gather, process, visualize, and verify mine designs on a real-time basis.
Date: 1996
Creator: Orr, T. J. & Beus, Michael J.