The new approach to creating progressive and low-waste mining technology for thin coal seams

Keywords: longwall operations, mining and geological thickness, wall rock undercut, coal ash, selective mining, waste rock placement, waste rock flow


The problem of mining low-thickness coal seams in the Western Donbas is described in the article. Technological, economic and environmental reasons reducing the effectiveness of traditional technologies for their development are analyzed in detail and the new progressive approach is proposed to solve it. Attention is paid to the importance of hard coal for Ukraine energy independence and thin coal seams, which is the lowest indicator among coal deposits exploited in the developed countries worldwide. The key role of the Western Donbas mines in the Ukraine coal mining industry development is shown, where coal seams with a geological thickness in a range of 0.55 – 0.80 m take more than 50% of coal reserves. It leads to coal clogging and rising of the further enrichment costs. The interrelation of mining, geological seam thickness, and wall rock undercut is established, as well as decade-long tendency out of seam size increase is evaluated. It appropriately correlates with the general tendency of a geological thickness decrease and it leads to an increase of total ash content. The sources are defined and the volumes of waste rock run from coal mine to the surface are quantified, where 80 – 90% are underground mine working development and wall rock undercut while longwall mining operations. The negative influence of the applied mining technologies for low-thickness seams is shown. Whereby existing waste rock dumps are additionally replenished annually by 3.0 – 3.5 million of large-sized coal enrichment wastes and transported back onto waste rock dumps for very high expenses. It is determined that three waste dumps are located near urban settlements, which increases the environmental fee for their placement in three times. The new approach for selective mining of low-thickness seams with rock undercut placement in the gob area is proposed and it is characterized by the addition to the mechanized support of horizontally-closed scraper backfilling conveyor with a tamping device for rock compaction, which reduces the mine rock output by 25 – 30%. The preliminary calculations of parameters and prospective economic efficiency of the proposed mining technology for low-thickness coal seams are carried out in case of one typical longwall face taking into account the mined rock transportation cost to coal-preparation plant and its enrichment, reducing the cost of mine working supports. Its technology is by 17% more cost effective, than traditional mining technology while rough coal ash content does not exceed 21%.

Author Biographies

Мykhailo V. Petlovanyi
Dnipro University of Technology, Dnipro
Dmytro S. Мalashkevych
Dnipro University of Technology, Dnipro
Kateryna S. Sai
Dnipro University of Technology, Dnipro


1. Amosha, O.I. (2013). Stan, osnovni problemy i perspektyvy vuhilnoi promyslovosti Ukrainy [State, main problems and prospects of the coal industry of Ukraine], Donetsk, 44. (in Ukrainian).
2. Barabash, M., & Cherednichenko, Y.Y. (2015). Transformation SHC “Pavlogradvugillia” in the world class coal-mining company – PJSC “DTEK Pavlogradvugillia”. Mining of Mineral Deposits, 9(1), 15-23. https://doi:10.15407/mining09.01.015
3. Bini, C., Maleci, L., & Wahsha, M. (2017). Mine waste: assessment of environmental contamination and restoration. Assessment, Restoration and Reclamation of Mining Influenced Soils, 89-134.
4. Bondarenko, V., Ganushevych, K., Sai, K., & Tyshchenko, A. (2011). Development of gas hydrates in the Black sea. Technical and Geoinformational Systems in Mining, 55-59. https://doi:10.1201/b11586-11
5. Bondarenko, V.I., & Malashkevych, D.S. (2019). Sposib selektivnoyi viyimki korisnih kopalin iz zakladkoyu viroblenogo prostoru ta mehanizovaniy kompleks dlya yogo zdiysnennya [The method of selective mining of minerals with gob backfilling and mechanized complex for its implementation]. Patent of Ukraine #133713. Published on
04/25/2019, Bulletin #8, 4. (in Ukrainian).
6. Butyrskyi, A., Nikolenko, L., Poliakov, B., Ivanyuta, N., Donchak, L., & Butyrska, I. (2019). Economic, investment and legal paradigm of shale gas development: World experience and prospects for Ukraine. Montenegrin Journal of Economics, 15(2), 165-179.
7. Byzylo, V., Koshka, O., Poymanov, S., & Malashkevych, D. (2015). Resource-saving technology of selective mining with gob backfilling. New Developments in Mining Engineering 2015, 485-491. https://doi:10.1201/b19901-84
8. Emad, M.Z., Vennes, I., Mitri, H., & Kelly, C. (2014). Backfill practices for sublevel stoping system. Mine Planning and Equipment Selection, 391-402. https://doi:10.1007/978-3-319-02678-7_38
9. Gorova,A., Pavlychenko,A., Kulyna, S., & Shkremetko, O. (2012). Ecological problems of post-industrial mining areas. Geomechanical processes during underground mining, 35-40. https://doi:10.1201/b13157-7
10. Horban, H., Hornyk, V., & Kravchenko, S. (2019). Development of the Ukrainian coal basins as a socioeconomic system. Naukovyi Visnyk Natsionalnoho Hirnychoho Universytetu, (5), 143-148. https://doi:10.29202/nvngu/2019-5/26
11. Hrinov, V., & Khorolskyi, A. (2018). Improving the process of coal extraction based on the parameter optimization of mining equipment. E3S Web of Conferences, (60), 00017. https://doi:10.1051/e3sconf/20186000017
12. International Energy Agency. Coal information. (2017). Paris: OECD, 500 p.
13. Jiang, H., Cao, Y., Huang, P., Fang, K., & Li, B. (2015). Characterisation of coal-mine waste in solid backfill mining in China. Mining Technology, 124(1), 56-63. https://doi:10.1179/1743286315y.0000000002
14. Khorolskyi, A., Hrinov, V., Mamaikin, O., & Demchenko, Y. (2019). Models and methods to make decisions while mining production scheduling. Mining of Mineral Deposits, 13(4), 53-62. https://doi:10.33271/mining13.04.053
15. Khoyutanov, E.A., & Gavrilov, V.L. (2018). Procedure for estimating natural and technological components in ash content of produced coal. Journal of Mining Science, 54(5), 782-792. https://doi:10.1134/s1062739118054891
16. Kononenko, M., Petlovanyi, M., & Zubko, S. (2015). Formation the stress fields in backfill massif around the chamber with mining depth increase. Mining of Mineral Deposits, 9(2), 207-215. https://doi:10.15407/mining09.02.207
17. Koshka, O., Yavors’kyy, A., & Malashkevych, D. (2014). Evaluation of surface subsidence during mining thin and very thin coal seams. Progressive Technologies of Coal, Coalbed Methane, and Ores Mining, 229-233. https://doi:10.1201/b17547-41
18. Kuzmenko, O., & Petlovanyi, M. (2015). Substantiation the expediency of fine gridding of cementing material during backfill works. Mining of Mineral Deposits, 9(2), 183-190. https://doi:10.15407/mining09.02.183
19. Lèbre, É., Corder, G.D., & Golev, A. (2017). Sustainable practices in the management of mining waste: A focus on the mineral resource. Minerals Engineering, (107), 34-42. https://doi:10.1016/j.mineng.2016.12.004
20. Lozynskyi, V., Saik, P., Petlovanyi, M., Sai, K., Malanchuk, Z., & Malanchuk, Y. (2018). Substantiation into mass and heat balance for underground coal gasification in faulting zones. Inzynieria Mineralna, 19(2), 289-300.
21. Malashkevych, D., Sotskov, V., Medyanyk, V., & Prykhodchenko, D. (2018). Integrated evaluation of the worked-out area partial backfill effect of stressstrain state of coal-bearing rock mass. Solid State Phenomena, (277), 213-220. https://doi:10.4028/
22. Mykhailov, V., & Hrinchenko, O. (2018). Geology, mining industry and environmental problems of Ukraine. 12th International Conference on Monitoring of Geological Processes and Ecological Condition of the Environment. https://doi:10.3997/2214-4609.201803175
23. Pactwa, K., Woźniak, J., & Dudek, M. (2020). Coal mining waste in Poland in reference to circular economy principles. Fuel, (270), 117493. https://doi:10.1016/j.fuel.2020.117493
24. Pavlenko, I., Salli, V., Bondarenko, V., Dychkovskiy, R., & Piwniak, G. (2007). Limits to economic viability of extraction of thin coal seams in Ukraine. Technical, technological and economical aspects of thin-seams coal mining. International Mining Forum, 129-132. https://doi:10.1201/noe0415436700.ch16
25. Petlovanyi, M., Kuzmenko, O., Lozynskyi, V., Popovych, V., Saik, P., & Sai, K. (2019). Review of man-made mineral formations accumulation and prospects of their developing in mining industrial regions in Ukraine. Mining of Mineral Deposits, 13(1), 24-38. https://doi:10.33271/mining13.01.024
26. Petlovanyi, M., Lozynskyi, V., Zubko, S., Saik, P., & Sai, K. (2019). The influence of geology and ore deposit occurrence conditions on dilution indicators of extracted reserves. Rudarsko Geolosko Naftni Zbornik, 34(1), 83-91.
27. Petlovanyi, M.V., & Ruskykh, V.V. (2019). Peculiarities of the underground mining of high-grade iron ores in anomalous geological conditions. Journal of Geology, Geography and Geoecology, 28(4), 706-716.
28. Petlovanyi, M.V., & Medianyk, V.Y. (2018). Assessment of coal mine waste dumps development priority. Naukovyi Visnyk Natsionalnoho Hirnychoho Universytetu, (4), 28-35. https://doi:10.29202/nvngu/2018-4/3
29. Petlovanyi, M.V., Lozynskyi, V.H., Saik, P.B., & Sai, K.S. (2018). Modern experience of low-coal seams underground mining in Ukraine. International Journal of Mining Science and Technology, 28(6), 917-923. https://doi:10.1016/j.ijmst.2018.05.014
30. Snihur, V., Malashkevych, D., & Vvedenska, T. (2016). Tendencies of coal industry development in Ukraine. Mining of Mineral Deposits, 10(2), 1-8. https://doi:10.15407/mining10.02.001
31. Ukraine coal. (2013). Industry report. Kyiv: Baker Tilly, 12 p
32. Wang,C., & Tu, S. (2015). Selection of an appropriate mechanized mining technical process for thin coal seam mining. Mathematical Problems in Engineering,
(2015), 1-10. https://doi:10.1155/2015/893232
33. Wang, G., Xu, Y., & Ren, H. (2019). Intelligent and ecological coal mining as well as clean utilization technology in China: Review and prospects. International Journal of Mining Science and Technology, 29(2), 161-169. https://doi:10.1016/j.ijmst.2018.06.005
34. Zhang,J., Li, M., Taheri,A., Zhang, W., Wu, Z., & Song, W. (2019). Properties and application of backfill materials in coal mines in China. Minerals, 9(1), 53.
35. Zhang, L., & Xu, Z. (2018). A critical review of material flow, recycling technologies, challenges and future strategy for scattered metals from minerals to wastes. Journal of Cleaner Production, (202), 1001-1025.
How to Cite
PetlovanyiМ., МalashkevychD., & Sai, K. (2020). The new approach to creating progressive and low-waste mining technology for thin coal seams. Journal of Geology, Geography and Geoecology, 29(4), 765-775.