Aim: The article aims to present and evaluate the costs of preventive works carried out in 16 selected longwall panels in the mines of two coal mining companies. The article is based on the analysis of data made available by the companies, which the author has properly prepared to enable their comparison.
Introduction: Fires occurring in coal mines are one of the more frequent technical hazards. Consequently, the mine’s ventilation departments are responsible for carrying out preventive measures to limit and minimise the fire risk. The danger of a fire in mine workings is connected not only with the possibility of exogenic fire, which is influenced by external factors such as machine and equipment failures, short-circuits in electrical installations or the possibility of a fire on transport routes, but also with endogenic fire, which the low-temperature oxidation of coal may cause with the remains left in longwall caving. The costs of prevention depend on the method of ventilation of the longwall faces and the coal’s susceptibility to spontaneous combustion.
Methodology: The costs of coal mining are very high. They are related to the increasingly difficult mining conditions, which are influenced mainly by the increasing depth of exploitation and the increase in natural and technical hazards during mining work. The costs of mining within a longwall area are usually divided into the costs of starting up the longwall, its exploitation and liquidation. Within this division, more detailed cost analyses are rarely conducted. As part of the research conducted since 2015, ways of cost assessment were developed on the basis of appropriately prepared cost tables for various natural and technical hazards occurring within the ventilation hazards presented in the example discussed in the article. Based on the analyses of unit costs of fire hazard prevention elements obtained in coal companies and the developed cost tables, the costs of prevention works were compiled. The costs of prevention works were evaluated and compared for 16 longwall faces using the elaborated indices.
Conclusions: Correctly applied fire hazard prevention in hard coal mines is one of the main elements of maintaining functional safety. Costs of hazard prevention in mines were usually compared together with the costs of exploitation, longwall equipment, media and crew working days. Cost tables were developed as part of the research to allow for cost assessment and determination of fire prevention cost indices.
Keywords: coal mining, fire hazard, preventive work, cost of preventive work
Type of article: review article