A Queensland university educator is conducting groundbreaking research aimed at improving safety in underground mining.
Dr Ali Mirzaghorbanali, from the University of Southern Queensland, is looking at how to prevent structural collapse in underground mining and likens his work in geotechnical engineering to digging at the beach.
As sand is removed on a beach, more immediately collapses back into the hole.
Dr Mirzaghorbanali’s job in underground mining is to make sure that doesn’t happen.
“We don’t want the earth to fall on the miners, so we build support structures,” he said.
“My work is in understanding the behaviour of these systems.”
Dr Mirzaghorbanali recently begun a research collaboration with UNSW Sydney and the University of Wollongong to enhance mine safety, increase productivity and reduce costs through fit-for-purpose designs.
The project is funded by the Australian Coal Association Research Program and will develop a modelling approach for more effective application of cable bolts in different ground conditions.
“We are aiming to create a comprehensive computer-based model to simulate various features of coal mining support systems,” Dr Mirzaghorbanali said.
“Professor Naj Aziz (University of Wollongong) and Professor Paul Hagan (UNSW) have experience in researching the behaviour of cable bolts subjected to shear and axial loading in the laboratory environment.
“However there is a need to further understand cable bolt performance in the laboratory and field as well as development of advanced computer-based numerical codes.”
The project will focus on the function of pre-tensioning and shear displacement of cable bolts in ground support and how ground and stress conditions impact the performance of support systems.
Cases of cable bolt failures will be collected and an Australia-wide database will be established to carry out back analysis using numerical modelling.
The project is expected to run for the next two years.