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Mining, geotechnical and safety engineering

Our multi-disciplinary research group encompasses a wide range of applications including rock mechanics, excavation design and novel techniques, numerical modelling, mine automation, electronic control, mine planning, safety and risk management, accident/incident investigation, use of remote sensing and associated visualisation technology, to evaluate and characterise complex engineering problems. We address global challenges for the mining and excavation-related industry to maximise resources, improve safety and minimise risks.

Group members

Projects

Funded by the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS), the SLOPES project brings together experts from across Europe to advance the current technology and methodologies applied to monitoring and risk analysis of slopes within open pit lignite mines. Modern techniques which aim to overcome the challenges of monitoring within open pit mines will be deployed and tested within real mines and results will be compared against physical model tests as well as rigorous numerical modelling. A reliability-based method for the evaluation of risks will be developed based on monitoring and modelling results which will provide significant benefits to design optimisation and decision support within real open-pit lignite mines.

The need for continuous assessment and monitoring of the stability of abandoned shafts will increase in the following years. Different technologies and solutions have been developed to monitor and assess their long-term stability conditions in order to prevent costly collapses. However, given the technical difficulties, most of them have been used only in the non-flooded sections.

The objective of the STAMS RFCS-funded project is to implement these technologies in underwater conditions, to integrate them into multifunctional monitoring and inspection modules, and to design permanently installed sensors, to guarantee periodic and long-term continuous monitoring and condition assessment of flooded mine shafts.

The objectives of the PRASS project, funded by the Research Fund for Coal and Steel (RFCS) are to improve the shield support monitoring system and develop enhanced methods of shield support operation in order to improve the safety and productivity in the coal mining industry. This will involve brittle failure and rock fracture testing and numerical modelling of cave simulation.

INDIRES addresses the crucial issue of rapidly acquiring and providing information which is a key necessity in the effective response to a serious mining incident. Numerous new initiatives will be addressed, which are expected to bring major benefits in the safety and welfare of affected miners and mines’ ongoing operations and profitability.

Two novel communication technologies will be researched, sensors capable of withstanding explosions and fires will be produced and small unmanned vehicles will be developed for initial information gathering. Compact yet highly efficient mechanical aids will be designed and manufactured for drilling exploratory tunnels and supporting these excavations.