Geology: Mapping of poorly accessible areas in lignite surface mines

Geological structures like the “Nochtener graben” or troughs make it harder to gain access to some areas of the 2nd Lausitz seam at the surface mine Nochten. To get a representative outcrop frequency we have been instructed to find a possibility for getting access to lignite in depressions.

In these areas the seam submerges partially completely below the working plane of the low wall excavators and has a thickness up to 14m. Because crane and hoisting technology can not applied satisfactorily, a job control statement for sampling and mapping of low wall slopes using rope-supported working methods was developed in collaboration with the safety authority of the mine and the high angle rescue department of the works fire service. By means of this instruction a regular mapping and sampling in depression areas can take place and the qualitative seam model can be improved in these problematic areas. During this project some of our geologists participated in a course becoming a certified access technician, which includes an annual recurring instruction.

The usage of rope-supported work at slopes in surface mines is a novelty, but offers some advantages:

  • Hardly any interference with the operating procedure of the mine
  • Accessibility of each point at the seam
  • More cost-effective than large technology
  • Practicably with low effort
  • Safety plus in comparison to small steps or ramps

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