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Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy

On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
Print version ISSN 2225-6253


VAN DER MERWE, J.N.. A three-tier method of stability evaluation for coal mines in the Witbank and Highveld coalfields. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2016, vol.116, n.12, pp.1189-1194. ISSN 2411-9717.

The probability of survival of coal pillars is a more rational indicator of stability than the safety factor. Over time, pillars undergo reduction in size by progressive scaling of the sidewalls. The probability of survival is therefore not constant but reduces over time. The rate of scaling can be quantified, and the reduction of the probability of survival as a function of time can therefore also be quantified. The paper describes the link between the factor of safety, probability of survival, and reduction of the probability of survival. Using the safety factor, probability of survival, and the time at which the probability of survival will reduce to 50% is proposed as a more rational method of evaluating pillar stability than the safety factor alone.

Keywords : pillar stability; probability of failure; time-related decay; safety factor.

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