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International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering

Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, ISO 9001:2008 Certified Journal, Volume 6, Issue 5, May 2016)

Selection of Mining Method and Mine Design in Dighipara

Coal Field, Dinajpur, Bangladesh
Md. Khairul Bashar Swapan1, Dr. Chowdhury Quamruzzaman2, Md. Samiul Alim3, Md. Momenur Rahim4,
A S Daiyan Ahmed5, Mohammad Tofayal Ahmed6
MS Student, 2Professor, Department of Geology, University of Dhaka, Dhaka-1000
Lecturer, Department of Petroleum and mining Engineering, MIST
Lecturer, Department of Petroleum and mining Engineering, Jessore University of Science& Technology

Abstract Selection of mining method in Dighipara coal But the proper mining method has not yet been selected
field is now a great matter of contention and this can be for Dighipara coal field and in this study we made an
mitigated by selecting an useful mining method based on approach to propose a mining method for this resourceful
University of British Columbia (UBC) method and technical field.
parameters & present situation of the coal basin. I this paper,
The study area, Dighipara Coal Field is located in the
for selection of mineable seam, proved and probable reserve
was calculated. In UBC method each parameters are rated for northwestern part of the Bangladesh at a distance of about
Dighipara coal field and a final rating for each mining method 300 km from Dhaka city.
is summed up. Other technical aspects which influence the
mining method are also considered. Based on that numerical
approach, technical consideration and present situation
mineable seam and an appropriate mining method was

KeywordsDighipara coal field, Longwall mining,

Longwall top coal caving, Mining method, UBC method,
Reserve estimation

Bangladesh is one of the least developed countries in the
world with a rapid rate of urbanization. The countrys
demand for electricity is increasing day by day but it is a
mono energy dependent country depends mostly on natural
gas for electricity generation. The rate at which the country
is consuming its natural gas is higher than the discovery of
new gas resources. According to USGS-Petrobangla joint
study there is fifty percent probability of getting another
32.1 TCF undiscovered resources. Even with the expected
resources, Bangladesh may not have sufficient supply of
natural gas after 2030. So, it is now become a great matter
of concern to decrease the dependency on natural gas and
find the alternate source of energy. The coal which is
available in NW part of Bangladesh, conceive a huge
potential to serve nation as an energy source to produce
more electricity and also act as a helping hand to natural
gas. Dighipara coalfield in Dinajpur is one of the six coal
fields discovered in Gondwana basins of Bangladesh and Figure-1: Location map of the study area Dighipara coal field
also one of the resourceful coal fields in Bangladesh.

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, ISO 9001:2008 Certified Journal, Volume 6, Issue 5, May 2016)
The coal field lies between latitudes ranging from The Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB) has drilled
2518'52.8"N to 2520'01"N and longitude from 8904'15" five holes in the Dighipara naming GDH-49 (1995), GDH-
E to 8905'10.4"E respectively in Putimara union under 58 (2001), GDH-60 (2003), GDH-61 (2004), GDH-62
Nawabganj Upazila of Dinajpur district. The coal field is (2004) to explore the extent, geology and other aspects of
discovered by Geological Survey of Bangladesh (GSB) in the basin. Lithological description and corresponding
1995 through bore hole GDH-49 in Dighipara village stratigraphic positions of the geological formations are
which is the reason for calling the coal field that way similar to those of Barapukuria (Hasan and Islam, 2003;
(figure-1). Khan, 2006). However, the formations identified in the
The area is mainly covered with cultivable land of low Dighipara are somewhat deeper than Barapukuria. More
elevation and there are four villages within the mine area. detailed investigation is required to establish a well-
Tulsi Ganga and Karotoya River both flowing from north recognized stratigraphic succession. Figure 2 shows the
to south mainly drain the study area (figure-1). generalized lithostratigraphic succession of the Dighipara
II. GEOLOGY OF DIGHIPARA COAL FIELD On the basis of five drill holes data drilled by GSB
Stratigraphy of the Dighipara coal basin has not been (Geological Survey of Bangladesh), the stratigraphic
well established and it is still under exploration. sequences of the area are divided into four major divisions
which are correlated with four groups/formations of India
and Bangladesh.

Figure-2: Drill hole location in Dighipara basin and generalized lithostratigraphic succession of the basin based on the drill holes

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, ISO 9001:2008 Certified Journal, Volume 6, Issue 5, May 2016)
These are Basement Complex, Gondwana Group, Dupi III. METHOD
Tila Formation, Barind clay residuum and Alluvium of For this study, selection of mining method was
Precambrian, Permian, Pliocene to late Miocene, proceeded upon calculating the reserve of Dighipara coal
Pleistocene and Holocene ages respectively. A large gap in field. For the selection of mining method the following two
sedimentary record is present in between Gondwana Group methods were considered:
and Surma Group, which are most probably happened due
to the erosional or non-depositional phase exit during A. Selection of mining methods based on University of
Triassic to Pliocene age. British Columbia (UBC) method
In the Gondwana Group of the Dighipara basin, the coal B. Selection of mining methods based on technical
bearing sequences range from 323.09 m (GDH-61) to parameter
446.26 m (GDH-62). The sequence is divided into 7 coal In the second method many parameters were used like
seams. Figure-3 shows stratigraphic cross section along shape of the deposit, thickness of the deposit, inclination,
GDH-61 and GDH-62 drill holes which shows a more or depth of operation, strength of ore and hanging wall,
less flat inclination of beds. From table I it is evident that hydrogeological conditions, settlement area.
seam II has the highest thickness of coal. Among seven For the reserve estimation following equation were used-
coal seams first four coal seams are consistent over all drill Reserve=HAT
holes where other three are absent in GDH-58, GDH-60
and GDH-49 (only seam VII absent). Where,
H= Thickness of the coal seam, A= Area of proven reserve
T= Tonnage
After calculating the reserve of each seam particular
seam is selected for mining and mining method was
selected on the basis of this seam.


Proved area of Dighipara coal field is calculated as 1.64
sq. km and probable area is calculated as 8.64 sq. km
(Figure-4). Tonnage of Digipara coal filed is 1.32 taking
specific gravity 1.32. Calculated reserve is shown in
table II.

Seam Average Area (Sq. km) Proved Probable

thickness reserves Reserves
Figure 3: Stratigraphic cross section along GDH-61-GDH-62 bore
of seam (million tons) (million tons)
holes (m) Proved Probable Each Total Each Total
TABLE I seam seam
II 34.04 73.68 388.17
Thickness (m) Average III 3.33 7.22 38.02
GDH- GDH- GDH- GDH- GDH- depth IV 4.55 1.64 8.64 9.86 132.35 51.94 697.24
hole Average (m)
49 58 60 61 62 V 1.85 4.01 21.14
Seam I 17.07 16.98 9.91 19.81 5.79 13.91 355.53 VI 1.39 3.00 15.81
Seam II 33.83 35.30 33.99 36.58 30.48 34.04 373.63 VII 2.06 4.46 23.49
Seam III 7.01 1.22 0.52 6.71 1.21 3.33 410.40
Seam IV 2.44 10.27 2.90 3.35 3.81 4.55 417.74 From this table it is shown that seam II constitute the
Seam V 1.6 --- --- 0.91 3.05 1.85 417.19 lions share (about 56%) of the resource at the Dighipara
Seam VI 0.3 --- --- 0.81 3.05 1.39 422.97 coal basin, about 56%. For greater recovery rate our main
Seam VII --- --- --- 2.9 1.22 2.06 434.94 interest is in seam II though other seams will also be
International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, ISO 9001:2008 Certified Journal, Volume 6, Issue 5, May 2016)
(ii) Rock Mass Rating (RMR) (after Bieniawski, 1973)
Classification parameter Value Rating
Uniaxial Compressive Strength (MPa) 23.44 4
Rock Quality Designation 35% 8
Joint Spacing (m) 0.11 8
Separation > 5
Joint Condition 0
mm, Continuous
Groundwater Dry condition 15
Total Rating 35
Hanging wall
Uniaxial Compressive Strength (MPa) 50-100 7
RQD 62% 13
Joint Spacing (m) 0.5 10
Separation 1 - 5
Joint Condition 10
mm, Continuous
Groundwater Dry condition 15
Total rating 55
Foot wall
Uniaxial Compressive Strength (MPa) 50-100 7
RQD 62% 13
Joint Spacing (m) 0.5 10
Separation 1 5
Joint Condition 10
mm, Continuous
Groundwater Dry condition 15
Total rating 55

Figure-4: Proved and probable area of Dighipara coal field, Dinajpur,

(iii) Rock Substance Strength (RSS)
Bangladesh For coal - 2.6
A. Selection of Mining Methods Based on UBC Method For hanging wall - 10.7
For foot wall - 6.67
For Dighipara coal field the parameter values are-
Now this values were ranked through UBC method and
(i) General ore Geometry and grade we got this-
Genera deposit shape: Tabular
Ore thickness: Average 34.04m for Seam II
Ore plunge: Plunge for seam-II is 13.1
Grade distribution: Uniform
Depth: Average 373.63 m for seam-II

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
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TABLE III The enormous amount of water that would be released in
RANKING OF DIFFERENT PARAMETERS FOR DIGHIPARA COAL FIELD an opencast mine is unmanageable and will create severe
Mining methods The presence of the loose sandy water bearing aquifer
OP BC SLS SLC LW RP SHS C&F TS SSS above coal deposit will not only pose water management
Ore geometry and grade problem, but it will also render the slope of the open pit
General unstable and vulnerable to large scale landslides. The
Tabular 2 2 4 4 4 4 4 4 2 1
shape slippery soft clay layers interbedded with sand in Dupitila
Intermediate 3 0 3 0 0 1 0 4 0 2 unit may add to the problem of landslide.
Ore plunge Flat 3 3 2 1 4 4 -49 1 4 2 2) Depth of operation
Grade The depth of the coal seam-II in the Dighipara coalfield
Uniform 3 3 4 3 4 4 3 2 2 0
distribution is 373.63 m below the surface. This depth is not very
Depth Intermediate 0 3 4 2 2 3 3 3 1 1 encouraging for an open cast mining.
Rock Mass Rating
(RMR) 3) Settlement area
Ore zone Weak 3 3 3 4 6 0 1 1 2 4 Above the Dighipara Coal Mine settlement area, the land
Hanging wall Medium 4 3 3 3 4 3 2 4 2 1 over the basin is highly fertile for cultivation even there is
Footwall Medium 4 3 2 3 - - 2 2 1 0 couple of villages within the mine boundary. If there would
Rock Substance Rating be an open pit mining then the population management will
(RSS) become a huge problem. In case of underground mining the
Ore zone Very weak 4 4 0 2 6 0 0 0 3 4 surface subsidence is the common problem. So, filling the
Hanging goaf area is a must for underground mining.
Weak 3 3 1 3 5 0 1 5 2 2 The above three are main features of Dighipara coal
Footwall Weak 3 3 1 2 - - 2 3 2 2 field that doesnt allow open pit mining. So, underground
mining method is suitable in a broad sense. There are two
Total 32 30 27 27 35 19 -31 29 21 19 main underground mining method in the world one is room
***OP = Open pit, BC = Block caving, SLS = Sublevel stoping, SLC = and pillar and other is longwall mining. In case of longwall
Sublevel caving, LW = Longwall mining, RP = Room and pillar, SHS =
Shrinkage stoping, C&F = Cut and fill, TS = Top slicing, SSS = Square set
mining this can be done in a couple of manners. All are
stoping suitable for certain geologic settings. Alternative
underground mining methods were also considered during
Using UBC method the top four mining methods are the selection of mining method (figure-5).
Longwall mining-35, Open pit-32, Block caving- 30 and
Cut & fill- 29
B. Selection of Mining Methods Based on Technical
The selection of the most appropriate mining methods
involves the physical parameters such as geologic and
geotechnical properties of coal, hanging wall and foot wall
and economic effects and environmental effects. Following
factors are considered during selecting mining method in
Dighipara coal field.
1) Hydrogeological conditions
Figure- 5: Alternative mining methods that were taken into
In the Dighipara coal basin above the coal seam-II a consideration
huge volume of Gondwana and Dupi Tila sediment present.
The Dupi Tila is a major aquifer system in Bangladesh. The 1) Shape of the Coal Deposit
190 to 250 meter thick unconsolidated and water bearing The geometric shape of the coal seam-II in the Dighipara
sandy layer (Dupitila Formation) overlying the coal coal basin is platy that is layered, stratified.
deposit, is an active groundwater aquifer.

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, ISO 9001:2008 Certified Journal, Volume 6, Issue 5, May 2016)
According to the geometric shape of the coal seam-II, To apply top coal caving in longwall mine it is a must to
both the Longwall and Room and Pillar mining methods have ore of low strength.
are appropriate for this field as we know that Longwall and
6) Strength of the Hanging wall
room and pillar mining methods are applied for the
stratiformed ore deposits (Brady and Brown, 1985) The room and pillar mining is applied in the strong
hanging wall and the size of the room and pillars depends
2) Thickness of the coal seam on strength of the roof rock or hanging wall (Miller-Tait,
The average thickness of the coal seam-II in the, 1995). If the hanging wall is of low or moderate
Dighipara coal basin is 34.04 m, which is a thick seam. On strength, then the pillar size increases to protect hanging
the basis of the thickness of coal seam-II in the Dighipara wall which ultimately decrease the production ratio of the
coalfield the longwall multi-slice top coal caving mining mine. On the other hand the longwall mining is applied in
method is the most appropriate for the extraction the coal. the weak to moderate hanging wall or roof rock, must be
The longwall single slice mining methods are applied in the break and cave; ideally in the thin bedded intermediate roof
seam thickness ranges from 0.8-3.7 m in thick (Peng et al., (Miller-Tait,, 1995). The strength of the hanging wall
1984). But from an economic point of view top coal caving of the seam-II in the Dighipara coal field is of low strength
would be much more economic in combination with to intermediate and roof is thin bedded (about 16 m).
longwall multi-slicing method. According to this concept the longwall mining is the best
for the extraction of coal from the seam-II in the Dighipara
3) Seam inclination
coal field.
The inclination (dip) of the coal seam-II in the Dighipara From the above discussion of the UBC Method shows
basin is about 13.4. It is a very important property of that the appropriate mining methods for the extraction of
deposits for an appropriate mining method selection. coal from the seam-II is longwall mining for the Dighipara
According to seam inclination the longwall and room and Coal Mine. The technical parameter of the coal seam,
pillar both mining methods are appropriate for extraction of hanging wall, footwall and present situation of the basin
coal from coal seam-II in Dighipara coalfield. indicate the appropriate methods for the extraction of coal
4) Depth of coal seam from the coal seam-II is the longwall multi-slice top coal
caving mining method with filling the caved area. The top
This depth of seam II suggests that longwall mining will
coal caving will ensure maximum extraction at a lower cost
be suitable because room and pillar mining method are
and at a considerable amount of lower time than ordinary
applied for the coal seam where depth must be relatively
longwall multi-slice mining method. So from the all above
shallow (Brady and Brown, 1985). The longwall mining discussion it is concluded that the longwall multi-slice top
method is applicable for coal seam depth ranges from 46 to coal caving mining methods with filling the caved area will
762 m (Peng et al., 1984).
be the most appropriate mining method for the Dighipara
5) Strength of the Coal Seam Coal Mine under present condition and data available.
The room and pillar mining is genetaly applied in the Multi-slice Longwall Top Coal Caving Mining Method
strong and competent ore body (Brady and Brown, 1985).
Slice layout
If the strength of coal is low that is stability stands low then
the size of the pillar should remain large to support the roof For the extraction, the coal seam-II will be divided into 4
of the mine. Hence the huge volume of coal is left in slices of inclined slice of 9 m, 9 m, 9 m and 7 m of
underground for supporting the roof. As the strength of the thickness where 4 m of the lower part of each slice will be
coal of Dighipara Coal Field is low, so the room and pillar mined out using longwall shearer and 5 m, 5 m, 5 m and 3
mining methods are not acceptable for the extraction of m top of each slice respectively will be mined
coal. The longwall mining is applied in any ore body but simultaneously with top coal caving
preferably the ore body that is weak or low strength that is
low stability (Miller-Tait,, 1995).

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
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Figure -6: Proposed slices of Dighipara coal mine

Advancement of mining
Two main types of longwall mining are being used
throughout the world: advancing and retreating longwall.
Both methods have some advantages and disadvantages.
The geological condition and the mining technical
condition for the Dighipara Coal Field is much more Figure- 7: Proposed panel layout of a retreating Longwall coalface of
the Dighipara Coal Field
complex, so the retreating longwall mining method is the
more appropriate than the advancing longwall mining. Coalface Geometry
Mining sequence In Dighipara Coal Field coalface will be designed as 120
m in width as the hanging wall does not have enough
The sequence of mining is in descending order that is
strength to support itself and 350 m in length which is one
upper slice is mined prior to lower slice. This is because the
third of the length of the mine along strike. The first
mine will be done with top coal caving and top coal caving
coalface is remarked as 101. The coalface 101, in which the
doesnt allow ascending order of mine as with the
first digits 1 denoted as the first slice number and last two
ascending order we cant control the thickness of caving we
digits 01, refers to Number of coal face.

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, ISO 9001:2008 Certified Journal, Volume 6, Issue 5, May 2016)
Longwall Panel Entry Design In this study, all the coal slices are divided in such a way
The panel entries may be two, three, four, and that lower part of the slice will be mined out using
sometimes five entries system. The most common system is traditional longwall shearer with a thickness of 4m in every
three entries system. In this research work the proposed slice. The rest of the top part of the slice will be caved and
panel entry for the Dighipara Coal Field is three entries fall directly to the rear canopies of roof support.
system with the entry width of 10 m (Figure 7).
Longwall Pillars Design
Mono energy dependency cant illuminate us for the rest
Protective pillar and chain pillars are considered in of the century because number of new discoveries of
Dighipara coal field. Length of protective pillar would be natural gas shows a downward trend by the time we
120m and width will be 20m whereas chain pillar will be depleting our gas resources. Our current natural gas can
double line rectangular pillar with 20m length and 10m still support us to 2035 at best. Standing at this verge crisis
width. it is now a way without any option to extract our coal
Top coal caving resources from the subsurface. Dighipara is among the six
As an ultra-thick coal seam-II it is a must to longwall (last Tilokpur, Naogaon, 2015) coal fields of Bangladesh
which discovered in 1995 by GSB in Nawabganj Upazila
mine with top coal caving to mine at a high extraction
of Dinajpur District.
It is calculated that proved area and probable area is 1.64
and 8.64 sq. km respectively with reserve of 132.35 and
697.24 million tons respectively. Reserve of each seam
indicating that the seam-II have the lions share in the
reserve about 56% of the total reserve. So it will be very
much professional to target the seam-II for mining.
In this study we found that both selection methods
suggest the mining method for Dighipara coal field would
be longwall multi-slice method. But this method have a
drawback for thick seams and thats why the top coal
caving method is incorporated with this method. The
benefit of top coal caving with longwall mining is twofold.
First, top coal caving is economically beneficial as much of
the coal will be extracted using caving. The second benefit
is we usually cant extract such ultra-thick coal seam using
ordinary longwall mining. So ultimately the mining method
would be multi-slice longwall top coal caving.
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Figure-8: Conceptual model of longwall multi-slice top coal caving for Mining, Second Edition. 376-381.
Dighipara coal field (modified from Milan Medved, 2012)

International Journal of Emerging Technology and Advanced Engineering
Website: (ISSN 2250-2459, ISO 9001:2008 Certified Journal, Volume 6, Issue 5, May 2016)
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