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Faculty members have wide-ranging expertise and are active in research in a wide range of specialties within mining engineering, including mine systems, rock mechanics and ground control, mineral/coal processing, and mine health and safety. The faculty members consult with industry and governments around the world, and are committed to mentoring students who are interested in pursuing careers in mineral sciences.

The Department of Mining Engineering offers students and faculty state-of-the-art laboratories for teaching and for research in a wide range of research specialties within mining engineering. These include:

Research Areas

Ground Control

WVU's mining program has contributed significantly in developing the unique field known as Ground Control.

  • Implemented a LaModel calibration technique for both shallow and deep­ cover coal mines
  • Implemented a local mine stiffness calculation for determining bump potential in mine design
  • Developed a laminated overburden loading mechanism for the ARMPS program
  • Implemented the Analysis of Roof Bolts Systems — or ARBS — program into the AutoCAD-based Stability Mapping Program

An image depicting stress at the Huff Creek Mine A photo on ground control.

Rock Mechanics

  • Generation of post-failure properties for coal and coal measures rock
  • Performing uniaxial and triaxial creep tests of coal measures rocks
  • Investigating the property behavior in mine wide models developed in FLAC3D and 3DEC

An image showing Triaxial Post Failure

Surface Mining

Application of information technology in surface mining, equipment-related surface mine safety, and environmental impact of surface mining operations.

  • Energy consumption (electricity, fuel, gasoline)
  • Production and cost
  • Evaluation of mine-equipment operators
  • Environmental impact with a special emphasis on dust, exhaust emission, and sound pressure level

Mine Ventilation

  • Propensity of coal spontaneous combustion; only laboratory in U.S. capable of testing coals using three popular methods
  • Determining status of coal mine thermal events in coal mines
  • Determining explosibility of mine atmosphere
  • Drilling noise reduction for roof bolting operation through rational drilling control

Equipment set-up for coal spontaneous combustion experiment. Sample chart showing experiment results of exposibility of mine atmosphere in an emergency.

Mineral Processing & Extractive Metallurgy

Coal preparation, flotation, extractive metallurgy, surface chemistry

  • Development of advanced mineral separation processes
  • Physical and chemical extraction of critical metals from coal and coal byproducts
  • Evaluation of mineral related industrial products including reagents and surfactants
  • Assessment and minimization of grinding energy consumption in comminution circuits
  • Novel application of surface chemistry in mine health and safety such as rock dusting application in underground coal mines
  • Analysis, design, and optimization of various processing circuits

A laboratory stirred mill used for the liberation and release of rare earth minerals from coal coarse refuse. An illustration of a column flotation circuit used to conduct froth flotation tests and evaluate the circuit performance under various operating conditions.

Mine Subsidence

  • Models developed for predicting final and dynamic surface and subsurface subsidence
  • Methods for assessing subsidence influences on various surface structures
  • Techniques developed and successfully applied to mitigate subsidence influences to numerous and various structures
  • Techniques to investigate abandoned mine subsidence events

A well mitigated historical house after longwall subsidence. A mitigated railroad experiencing longwall subsidence.

Research Labs

  • Rock Mechanics Laboratory
  • High Pressure and High Temperature Triaxial Laboratory
  • Coal and Mineral Processing Laboratory
  • Mine Ventilation Laboratory