Important Considerations For Rib Bolting

Rib DrillA number of bureaus and mining associations have long studied the practical considerations when it comes to rib stability. Rib support failures are very common problems in the world of underground engineering. Therefore, the mechanics of rib failure and complementary elements such as pillar constraints and mine geology are always important areas of research while undertaking a coal mining project.

Whilst considering overall mine safety, rib falls count as amongst the primary factors to mine openings and cave-ins. In the US, over 1,316 rib-related accidents were reported in the span of six years, often with fatal consequences. These rib failures appeared to occur naturally for no particular reason. Usually these were related to mining activity such as bolting, drilling or continuous mining. However, after painstaking research, it was acknowledged that while rib failures were entirely avoidable, certain practical support strategies needed to be implemented to ensure this. Prime among them is rib bolting.

Rib bolting is practiced in coal ribs where plate-like rib failures or slabbing are rampant. This includes restricting horizontal and vertical movements between slabs by securely anchoring a bolt. Of course, this raises more questions than it answers. How long must the bolt be? What kind of bolt should be used? Without going into technicalities, the bolt should be long enough to ensure stability in the opening. This can only be ascertained by analyzing the strata conditions. Therefore, there is never any general rule of thumb on bolt lengths. The answer to the second question is that one must always use a bolt made of material that can conductively interact with the mass of rock to ensure stabilization of the structure. This again depends on the nature of the rock layer. For instance, strong, stiff rock layers demand stiffer support, while yielding rock masses will, in turn, depend upon yieldable support.

As one can see, it is essential for monitoring techniques of rib support to be at their most optimum while considering a practical design for rib bolting. The layer of rocks, geological conditions and structural engineering solutions must be thoroughly examined, assessed and agreed upon before deciding to move forth with rib bolting. In order to prevent painful and sometimes deadly accidents that are wont to occur whilst dealing with this sensitive area, it is absolutely imperative to have your analysis spot on.

However, rib bolting definitely has emerged as one of the foremost solutions to the problem of rib failure in recent years. In the future, near or distant, relatively advanced methods or improvements to the existing methods may probably be arrived upon, but for now, rib bolting has become the miner's solution to the problematic rib!


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