Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 1201–1211 | Cite as

A Field Study of Longwall Mine Ventilation Using Tracer Gas in a Trona Mine

  • V. GangradeEmail author
  • S. J. Schatzel
  • S. P. Harteis


A ventilation research study was conducted by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health and a cooperating trona mine in the Green River basin of Wyoming, USA. The mine operation uses the longwall mining method in trona bed 17, a commonly mined unit in the region. The longwall face length is 228 m (750 ft), and caving on the face occurred up to the back of the longwall shields. The mine is ventilated using a main blowing fan and a bleeder shaft. For this study, sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) tracer gas was released in two separate monitoring experiments. For the first experiment, tracer gas was released on the face, this test focused on airflow along the longwall face of the active panel. Face test showed the airflow patterns to be more complex than just head-to-tail flow in the main ventilation air stream on the active panel. For the second experiment, tracer gas was released 2 crosscuts inby the face on the headgate side, this test focused on gas transport in the mined-out portion of the same active panel. Gob test showed a pathway of movement through the front of the active panel gob that moved outby from the tailgate corner. The primary pathway of tracer gas movement in the active panel gob was towards the headgate and tailgate bleeders and out of a bleeder shaft. The rate of movement towards the back of the gob was measured to be 0.19 m/s (37 fpm).


Mine ventilation Longwall mining Trona Tracer gas 



The authors recognize the essential contributions of others in the completion of this work. Cynthia Hollerich, James Addis, and Thomas Dubaniewicz are all critical contributors to the completion of this research effort. The authors also recognize the mine operator and numerous staff and management who were very important to the execution of our cooperative research effort.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


The findings and conclusions in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Mention of any company or product does not constitute endorsement by NIOSH.


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection  2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH)PittsburghUSA

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