Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mining Engineering

Committee Chair

Yi Luo.


The United States has the world largest coal resource and coal will serve as the major and dependable energy source in the coming 200 years or more. However, the amount of recoverable coal reserve depends on the geological formations and quality of the coal seams, future development of mining technology and the extraction cost. A NETL sponsored cooperative research was conducted by the researchers at Carnegie Mallon University (CMU) and West Virginia University (WVU) to estimate the recoverable coal reserve. This thesis presents some of the works that WVU performed to enhance the coal reserve model including characterization of coal reserves, estimation of recovery ratio and extraction cost.;To characterize the coal reserve, a GIS model was developed. In this model, information of coal reserve, rank, gas content, etc. have been collected from published sources and integrated into a combined coal reserve database. A GIS interface has been developed to interact with the database to display the needed information in map forms.;Room and pillar mining method could still remain to be the main method to mine small and difficult reserves. To maximize the coal reserve recovery by designing proper sized coal pillars is the most important task in room and pillar mining operation. Though pillar design methodology has been proposed long time ago, it needs an iterative solution process. To facilitate programming the coal reserve model and engineering application, a straight-forward pillar design method was developed.;Mine ventilation often is a limiting factor for underground coal mine operations. Ventilation requirement for an underground coal mine (i.e., fan head and quantity) depends on the gas content and production rate. A method to estimate the ventilation requirement in mine planning stage described in the SME handbook has been modified to take the variation of coal seam gas content into consideration. It should be noted that the gas content of a coal seam depends on the coal rank and the average burial depth. Again, the method was made easy to be programmed into the coal reserve model and to be applied by engineers.