Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Mining Engineering (MSMIE)

Document Type

Master's Thesis




Mining Engineering

First Advisor

Dr. Kyle A. Perry


Highwall mining is a mining method used in surface coal operations that involves driving a series of parallel entries into the exposed coal seam at the highwall face under an unsupported roof leaving behind a series of long, but very slender coal pillars. Highwall mining often occurs simultaneously with production blasting taking place in other areas of the mine. Although no failures of highwall pillars have been attributed to nearby blasting, numerical modelling presents an inexpensive means of investigating the possible effects of strong ground motion on the stability of these pillars. This thesis documents the development of a discrete element rock mass model and its application to the simulation of both static and fully dynamic highwall pillar simulations. The approach is geared toward parameter analysis and mechanism identification rather than exact prediction. Some conclusions are made regarding the potential effects of blast vibration on highwall coal pillars and general excavations in rock. The limitations of the modelling approach are discussed and suggestions for future research are proposed.