The GFRP Rockbolt Advantage
The Australian Coal Industry Research Program (ACARP) was set up in 1992 with health and safety being the number one priority. ACARP is 100% owned and funded by Australia’s black coal producers through a per ton levy paid on saleable coal. Their aim for mining safety is to achieve a zero harm rate in Australia. Improvements in technology and better mining practices play a big part in reaching this goal.
This research initiative has made Australia a leader in coal mining technology and, one of the safest coal mining countries in the world.
Coal mines are a dangerous environment. The stability of coal mine tunnels is essential to a safe working environment. Rockbolts are used to reinforce roof strata and provide stability when excavating tunnels. Traditionally, steel rockbolts are drilled into a rock formation to stop the wall and roof strata from giving way. The risk is increased in challenging and unstable environments.
Using steel rockbolts comes with safety risk. Steel is strong but not cuttable. Miners have to put themselves at risk to remove roc bolts using heavy machinery, so they can proceed with the job. This work is slow and carries significant safety risk when wall stabilizers are removed.
Pultron worked with a number of mining experts to produce GFRP rockbolts to exceed safety standards.
Rockbolts using glass fibre-reinforced polymer have provided a safe solution. GFRP rockbolts have excellent shear strength and can be safely cut without damage to expensive mining equipment. For this reason, once installed, GFRP rockbolts do not need to be remoed as they are cuttable, thereby reducing risk to miner’s safety.
Although initially more expensive than steel rockbolts, GFRP rockbolts provide increased safety with long-term economics advantages achieved through saving time and increasing productivity levels.