A new kilometre long tunnel recently completed at Grosvenor mine, near Moranbah is believed to be a first for the Queensland coal mining industry.
A Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) made the breakthrough 29 days ahead of schedule at the Anglo American-owned mine.
According to a statement released by the company responsible, GHD, “This is the first time an Earth Pressure Balance (EPB) TBM has been used in a coal mining environment in Queensland and one of a few times a TBM has been used in the Australian mining industry.”
Brendan Henry, GHD’s Tunnel Manager and Principal Engineer, said, “One of the advantages of the EPB TBM is its ability to excavate through weak, water- and gas-bearing ground without exposing workers to these hazards. The TBM reached daily advance rates of 18 tunnel rings, or 25m of fully lined tunnel, driving through minor coal seams charged with methane of pressures above 1.5 Bar. The front section of the TBM was designed as explosion proof to operate in these conditions.”
Anglo American Coal CEO Seamus French congratulated the team at Grosvenor for achieving the job ahead of schedule.
“This great result is down to the outstanding commitment of the team who came to grips with the new tunnel boring technology last year and applied our operating and engineering experience from underground mining to lift the TBM performance over the last 12 months.”