Redistribution of in situ stresses due to underground
mining operations is the primary reason for the
occurrence of ground control problems in
underground coal mines. Rockburst is one of the most important ground control problems. In rockburst, a small block of coal is suddenly
and violently ejected at high velocity from the
coal pillar into the surroundings. It may be lethal for people coming in the
way. With the first incident reported in 1920, more than 30,000 incidents have
been reported worldwide and are continuing. Developing a risk assessment
methodology will help in predicting rockburst occurrences such that suitable
control measures can be undertaken to prevent its occurrences.

Researchers tried to decipher the mechanism of
occurrence of rockbursts and grouped them into three categories: excessive
pressure, seismic shock and loss of confinement. Despite the effort, exact causes of occurrence of rockbursts remain
unknown due to its complex nature. Some of the major causative factors for
rockbursts includes high depth of cover, the presence of massive and hard
strata, the strength of roof-coal-floor, mining scheme, geological structures,
etc. Several empirical equations were developed to determine the bursting
liability of coal seams, but mining is a dynamic process and no two mine-sites
are same, hence, empirical formulations cannot provide a reliable indication of
rockburst. Moreover, all factors do not contribute equally to the occurrence of
rockburst, hence, suitable weight should be given to the causative factors.

In this research project,
it is proposed to develop a generic risk assessment methodology for prediction,
prevention and mitigation of rockbursts. A coal burst potential index will be
developed based on multiparameter hierarchical analysis by assigning different
weight to causative factors identified from results of laboratory experiments,
numerical modelling analysis and field monitoring data. Suitable control
measures will be suggested depending on the mechanism of rockburst occurrence
to prevent its occurrence and minimise the effect (if it occurs). The model so
developed will reliably predict rockburst occurrences, thus minimizing the
operation downtime and will help in achieving production targets while ensuring
the safety of persons working underground.

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