With reference to the situation experienced in several Polish collieries where the risk of occurrence of gas-geodynamic phenomena is increasing and decisions to start the mining activities need to take numerous constraints associated with previous mining into account, this paper addresses certain geo-mechanical aspects of longwall mining in the zones of excavation edge interactions giving rise to major changes in the conditions of the deposit and rock strata, as a consequence of previous mining operations in adjacent coalbeds. Starting from the analytical description of displacements and stresses in the proximity of longwall mining systems, the paper summarizes the results of model tests and investiga-tions of the influence that the excavation edge has on the behavior and structural continuity of a portion of the coal body in the coalbed beneath or above an old excavation. Based on selected nonlinear functions emulating the presence of edges in the rock strata, a comparative study is carried out by investigating two opposite directions of workface advance, from the gob area towards the coal body and from the coal body towards the gobs. The discussion of the results relies on the analysis of roof deformation and the concentration factor of the vertical stress component at the workface front.
Recalling the body of experience gathered in the collieries of the Upper Silesian Coal Basin, the increased risk of seismicity and rockburst occurrences in confined conditions including the exploitation of remnants were identified. This study investigates geomechanical aspects of longwall mining in the areas affected by old excavations aimed at relaxation of a multi-bed deposits within a thick coal seam or a group of seams. It is assumed that high-energy seismicity is another factor determining the rockburst hazard alongside the state of stress. A case study is recalled, describing a colliery where mining-induced seismic activity of a de-stressed coal seam remained at the level comparable to or higher than it was experienced in the de-stressed seam operations. An analytical model was used to study the stress state and potential loss of structural continuity of an undisturbed rock body surrounding the longwall panel being mined beneath or over the abandoned workings. Recalling the developed model of the system involving nonlinear functions demonstrating the existence of abandoned mine workings within the rock strata, computer simulations were performed to evaluate the rockburst hazards along the face area. Discussions of results are based on observations of immediate roof convergence and the vertical stress concentration factor at the longwall face zone. Computational data of the modelled mining situations demonstrates that despite using the de-stressing method of mining, the occurrence of events impacting on mine working beneath and over abandoned workings cannot be precluded. Here the scale of rockburst hazards is determined by local mining and geological conditions, such as the type and extent of abandoned workings, their age and vertical distance between them and the coal seam currently mined.