Bord and Pillar method of underground mining has been used extensively to develop Indian coal seams into pillars and galleries. This results in only 20–30% recovery of coal and rest coal remain locked up in developed pillars. Indian coalfields are famous in the world for its uniqueness and complexity of the geomining conditions which makes the extraction of the locked-up coal pillars a difficult and hazardous activity using different underground mining methods. Indian mining industry has introduced mechanisation since last 10 years to deal with the various underground rock mechanics issues in order to improve the efficiency and safety during recovery of locked-up coal pillars. But mere introduction of mechanisation did not solve all the rock mechanics problems due to requirement of indigenous design of different involved geotechnical elements for Indian geomining conditions. CSIR-CIMFR is a national research organisation engaged in improving conditions of underground coal mines. It has developed rock mechanics advances, namely, design of irregular shaped heightened rib/snook, roof bolt-based breaker-line support, warning limit of roof sagging, and cut-out distance for continuous miner-based mechanised depillaring. This chapter presents the developments made and highlights challenges to pursue future research studies for mechanised depillaring-based mass coal production from Indian underground mines.
Part of the book: Mining Techniques