An increase in concentration of coal output in Polish hard coal mines contributes to a significant increase in absolute methane-bearing capacity in mining areas. Measurements of methane concentration were taken in selected longwall faces in order to estimate the influence of coal output on methane hazard. The measurements were taken from 2006 to 2008 in 8 longwalls in mines with high methane hazard. The parameters for longwalls where measurements were taken are presented in table 1. Average daily output ranged from 1380 to 2320 Mg: however the maximum daily output amounted to 5335 Mg. Absolute methane-bearing capacity ranged from 4.44 to 56.41 m3/min. Longwalls were ventilated with a U and Y system and their ventilation schemes are presented in figure 1. The period of measurements ranged from 29 to 384 days. The results obtained were used to determine the influence of changes in output on methane hazard.
For each longwall under research statistical estimation of parameters, such as: ventilation air methane (VAM) emission, amount of methane captured by a drainage system, absolute methane-bearing capacity and an advance of longwall face was conducted. In order to determine the influence of a longwall face advance on methane-bearing capacity the probabilistic model of the distribution of those parameters on the basis of the measurement results was used.
In order to determine the dependence between ventilation air methane emission, methane drainage, absolute methane-bearing capacity and longwall advance, the distribution of analysed variables was checked by means of Kolmogorow-Smirnov normality test. The results of this test are presented in table 2. Table 3 presents values for correlation co-efficient r(x,y). When analyzing the results presented in table 3 it must be observed that in case of most longwalls there is a high correlation between ventilation air methane emission, absolute methane-bearing capacity and longwall advance. However, in longwalls N-10 i W-5 the correlation between methane drainage capture and longwall advance is equally strong. In all other longwalls the correlation is average. In all cases the correlations were positive, which means that together with an increase in advance, there is also an increase in ventilation air methane emission, methane drainage capture and absolute methane-bearing capacity
On the basis of determination co-efficient it can be concluded that in cases under consideration at least half (about 50%) of results, ventilation air methane emission, methane drainage capture and absolute methane-bearing capacity can be explained linearly by an influence of longwall advance, while this statement can be assumed with the probability close to 100%.
It should also be added that the lack of very high or full correlations means that examined parameters do not fully show linear dependence; however there might be other functional correlations. Because of a complex character of phenomena happening during mining it is not possible to determine full correlations. However, the interpretation of results allows us to claim that an influence of wall advance on methane emission amounts to 30 to 70% depending on a given case. Therefore, other factors, for example geological ones, which were not taken into consideration, will contribute to the level of methane hazard.
Table 4 presents determined co-efficients of linear regression. On the basis of the data in table 4, an equation describing the dependence of absolute methane-bearing capacity in a longwall on a longwall advance in the form (11) can be formed. Table 5 presents determined co-efficients of non-linear regression. On the basis of the data in table 5, an equation describing the dependence of absolute methane-bearing capacity in a longwall on a longwall advance in the form (13) can be formed.
When comparing co-efficient R2 of the contribution of the explained variance in tables 4 and 5 it can be obcserved that non-linear dependence explains better the results of mining measurements. The similar dependence presenting methane emission as dependent on output is suggested by Myszor (1985). The conditions for safe mining can be given for a determined methane emission.