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SME Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (MME) journal: Dec 2019 Issue Online!

By Chee Theng posted 12-18-2019 01:21 AM


The December 2019 Issue of the SME Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (MME) journal is online!

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Heap Leach Production Modeling: a Spreadsheet-Based Technique
by Mike Botz and John Marsden
Cite this article as:
Botz, M. & Marsden, J. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1041.

A variety of modeling techniques can be utilized to forecast metal production at heap leaching operations. These approaches reflect a wide range of complexity, flexibility, time to implement, cost, and accuracy. For many operators, a spreadsheet-based modeling technique is attractive since the calculations are directly accessible, models can often be developed by site staff, and the results are generally easy to extract and interpret. The authors have developed a spreadsheet-based modeling technique that provides a high degree of flexibility, while still considering detailed operating information for ore properties, leach kinetics, scale-up factors, lift height, and in-heap metal inventories. The technique involves establishing kinetic leach curves for each ore type to characterize metal extractions, followed by application of separate metal recovery curves to define the rate at which leached metals exit the heap in pregnant solution, taking into account delays due to the in-heap solution inventory. At any point in time, the difference between total metal extracted and total metal recovered is equal to the in-heap inventory of the leached metal. This modeling technique is particularly useful for larger multi-lift heaps where delays in metal recovery are appreciable due to in-heap solution holdup. The technique is also applicable to sites with multiple heaps, leach cycles, and/or metal recovery plants (e.g., carbon columns for gold; solvent extraction for copper). This paper describes the modeling technique, including input data required and methods for defining kinetic leach curves and metal recovery curves. The technique is compared against an alternative spreadsheet technique using a simplified in-heap solution inventory calculation to forecast metal production, which has proven to be effective at a number of sites.

Investigations on the Charge Motion and Breakage Effect of the Magnetic Liner Mill Using DEM
by Genzhuang Li, Reem Roufail, Bern Klein, Lusheng Zhou, Amit Kumar, Chunbao Sun, Jue Kou and Lei Yu
Cite this article as:
Li, G., Roufail, R., Klein, B. et al. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1053.

Magnetic liners can improve the performance of ball mills by increasing grinding efficiency, extending service life, and reducing maintenance costs. Despite their importance, the fundamental understanding and the quantitative investigation on the effects of the magnetic liners has not been addressed in the literature. This paper addresses this gap by studying charge motion, and how the use of a magnetic liner affects the breakage mechanism of the mill, using discrete element method (DEM) modeling and the Hertz-Mindlin contact model with relative velocity dependent (RVD) rolling friction. Charge motion was modeled under different mill speeds. Compared to conventional steel and rubber liners, the charge motion in the magnetic liner mill was predominantly cascading. Quantitative analysis of the energy dissipation within the mill was conducted to investigate mill breakage. Regardless of speed, over 50% of the total energy dissipation in the magnetic liner mill was in the form of abrasion and attrition. The results highlighted the appeal of magnetic liners in secondary and regrinding application, where abrasion and attrition are considered more efficient in the fine material breakage, and where impact is ideally minimized to reduce mill wear. A number of experiments were conducted to assess the effect of different model parameters on the performance of the magnetic liner mill. The highest abrasion/attrition intensity was observed with high values of the model parameters namely the restitution coefficient, static friction coefficient, and rolling friction coefficient.

Effects of Temperature and pH on Pressure Filtration of Coal Refuse Slurry
by G. S. S. Raman and M. S. Klima
Cite this article as:
Raman, G.S.S. & Klima, M.S. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1067.

Coal refuse slurries stored in tailings impoundments can potentially lead to environmental concerns such as effluent seepage, property devaluation, and in extreme cases, dam failures. Pressure filtration offers an opportunity to reduce the impoundment requirements by providing significantly drier solids. A full-factorial design was used to study the effects of temperature and pH on dewatering a refuse slurry obtained from a coal preparation facility in Pennsylvania, USA. The experimental results indicated a strong effect of temperature on cake moisture as the cake moisture after about 2800 s was 22% at 43 °C and only 36% at 10 °C for tests conducted at pH 3. ANOVA results confirmed the statistical significance of pH, temperature, and their interaction effect. Also, the results showed no significant differences between the tests conducted near neutral and alkaline pH values at low and ambient temperatures. On the other hand, Tukey’s test indicated higher reductions in cake moisture at higher temperatures for lower pH values. This study affirms the need to monitor and control the pressure filtration process as throughput could significantly vary with changes in temperature and slurry conditions.

Fuzzy Logic Self-Tuning PID Controller Design for Ball Mill Grinding Circuits Using an Improved Disturbance Observer
by Hamed Khodadadi and Hamid Ghadiri
Cite this article as:
Khodadadi, H. & Ghadiri, H. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1075.

In this study, a fuzzy logic self-tuning PID controller based on an improved disturbance observer is designed for control of the ball mill grinding circuit. The ball mill grinding circuit has vast applications in the mining, metallurgy, chemistry, pharmacy, and research laboratories; however, this system has some challenges. The grinding circuit is a multivariable system in which the high interaction between loops, the variation of the system parameters with time, and time delay are some of the problems that pose a challenge. Since the controller parameters are determined offline in classic PID control, these gains are unchangeable and cannot overcome the mentioned challenges in this system. Hence, a fuzzy logic self-tuning PID controller, which is a combination of fuzzy logic and a conventional PID controller, is proposed to control the grinding system, especially in the presence of model mismatch and disturbances. In addition, in order to solve the system challenges, a multivariable control approach based on an improved disturbance observer is proposed to suppress the effects of the disturbances. The most important feature of the algorithm proposed in this paper as the combination of fuzzy logic self-tuning PID and improved disturbance observer is its ability to eliminate system interaction, attenuate internal and external disturbances, and compensate the effect of system uncertainty on the performance of the ball mill grinding circuit. Simulation results in the cases of the set-point change in particle size and circulating load in the presence of model mismatch and external disturbances confirmed the controller performance compared to other controllers.

Dissolution Kinetics Potential of a Biotite-Rich Kaolinite Ore for Industrial Applications by Oxalic Acid Solution
by Alafara A. Baba, Mustapha A. Raji, Aishat Y. Abdulkareem, Malay K. Ghosh, Rafiu B. Bale and Christianah O. Adeyemi
Cite this article as:
Baba, A.A., Raji, M.A., Abdulkareem, A.Y. et al. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1091.

The increasing demand for pure aluminum and aluminum compounds of industrial quality from kaolinite ore cannot be overemphasized. Nigeria is one of the African countries endowed with abundant solid mineral resources that have not been sufficiently exploited to assist its indigenous industries. A wide array of applications of pure aluminum and its compounds are available, such as paper filling, refractories, adsorbent, catalysis, and paint additives. In this study, the upgrading of a Nigerian biotite-rich kaolinite ore by a hydrometallurgical route was investigated in oxalic acid media. During leaching studies, the effects of parameters including reaction temperature, lixiviant concentration and particle size on the extent of ore dissolution were examined. At optimal conditions (1.0 mol/L C2H2O4, 75 °C), 92.0% of the initial 10 g/L ore was reacted within 120 min. The dissolution curves from the shrinking core model were analyzed and found to conform to the assumption of surface diffusion reaction, and the calculated activation energy of 33.2 kJ/mol supported the proposed model. The unreacted product (~8.0%) analyzed by XRD was found to contain siliceous impurities and could serve as a valuable by-product for certain industries.

The Order of Kinetic Models, Rate Constant Distribution, and Maximum Combustible Recovery in Gilsonite Flotation
by Ataallah Bahrami, Fatemeh Kazemi, Yousef Ghorbani and Jafar Abdolahi Sharif
Cite this article as:
Bahrami, A., Kazemi, F., Ghorbani, Y. et al. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1101.

Kinetic models are the most important tool for predicting and evaluating the performance of flotation circuits. Gilsonite is a natural fossil resource similar to an oil asphalt, high in asphaltenes. Here, in order to determine the kinetic order and flotation rate of a gilsonite sample, flotation experiments were carried out in both rougher and cleaner stages. Experiments were conducted using the combinations of oil–MIBC and gas oil–pine oil, with one test without collector and frother. Five kinetic models were applied to the data obtained from the flotation tests using MATLAB software. Statistical analysis showed that the results of the experiment with oil–MIBC were highly in compliance with all models. Kinetic constants (k) were calculated as 0.1548 (s−1) and 0.0450 (s−1) for rougher and cleaner stages, respectively. Rougher and cleaner tests without collector and frother also matched all models well (R2 > 0.98), with k values of 0.2163 (s−1) and 0.284 (s−1), respectively. The relationship between flotation rate constant, maximum combustible recovery, and particle size showed that the maximum flotation combustible recovery and flotation rate were obtained in the size range of −250 + 106 μm in the rougher and cleaner stages. The combustible recovery and flotation rate were higher in the rougher flotation process than in the cleaner stage.

Evaluation of Roof Bolter Canopy Air Curtain Effects on Airflow and Dust Dispersion in an Entry Using Blowing Curtain Ventilation
by Y. Zheng, W.R. Reed, M.R. Shahan and J.P. Rider
Cite this article as:
Zheng, Y., Reed, W., Shahan, M. et al. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1115.

Roof bolter operators may be exposed to high respirable dust concentrations on continuous miner sections with blowing face ventilation when bolting is performed downwind of the continuous miner. One solution to reduce the high respirable dust concentrations is to use a canopy air curtain (CAC) to deliver clean air from a filtered blower fan directly to the bolter operators under the canopies. The influence of CAC installation in the airflow and dust dispersion around the location of the roof bolter operator can be evaluated by using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). This study, performed by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), considers two scenarios: (1) a roof bolting machine in the center of the entry for installation of the fifth row of bolts from the face, and (2) a roof bolting machine positioned close to the face for the installation of the last row of bolts. In both scenarios, the bolting machine is placed in an environment which contains 6.0 mg/m3 of respirable dust and is ventilated by a blowing curtain with 3000 cfm (1.42 m3/s) of air. This environment is used to simulate the roof bolter machine operating downstream of a continuous mining machine. Two operation positions are simulated at the same bolting location: dual drill heads in the inward position for two inside bolts and dual drill heads in the outward position for two outside bolts. The influence of the CAC on airflows and dust dispersion is evaluated with the CAC operating at 250 cfm (0.12 m3/s).

Development of Goaf Gas Drainage and Inertisation Strategies in 1.0-km- and 3.0-km-Long Panels
by Rao Balusu, Bharath Belle and Krishna Tanguturi
Cite this article as:
Balusu, R., Belle, B. & Tanguturi, K. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1127.

A collaborative research project is undertaken by Anglo American Coal and CSIRO to develop appropriate strategies for gas and spontaneous combustion management of longer panels. Extensive computational fluid dynamics (CFD) modelling studies have been conducted and calibrated using operational longwall goaf gas data to obtain a fundamental understanding of goaf gas flow patterns in longwall panels of 1.0-km and 3.0-km lengths and a detailed investigation of the effect of various mining and operational parameters on goaf gas flow patterns. The modelling studies have also been used to investigate the performance of various gas drainage and proactive inertisation strategies during various stages of longwall panel extraction. Simulation results indicated that apart from tailgate (TG) side goaf holes, gas drainage from maingate (MG) goaf holes and the mid panel start-up goaf holes would be useful for flat seam field conditions. Operation of 8–10 goaf holes is recommended for field site conditions with high goaf gas emissions of 6000 L/s. The modelling results indicated that the traditional inert gas flow rate of 500 L/s currently used in some mines would be insufficient to achieve effective goaf inertisation in long panels. Results indicate that 3.0-km-long panels would require 1500 L/s of inert gas and there is a need for multi-point inert gas injection strategy for effective goaf inertisation. In this paper, details and results of modelling investigations and recommended strategies for gas and spontaneous combustion management in 1.0-km- and 3.0-km-long panels are presented.

Overview of Current US Longwall Gateroad Support Practices: an Update
by M. M. Sears, G. S. Esterhuizen and I. B. Tulu
Cite this article as:
Sears, M.M., Esterhuizen, G.S. & Tulu, I.B. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1137.

In 2015, 40 longwall mines provided nearly 60% of the US coal production from underground mining methods. This represents a substantial yet gradual increase from just under 50% over the last 5 years. As a result of this increased production share, the percentage of ground-fall-related fatalities in longwall mines has also increased when compared to all US underground coal mines. Additionally, about 80% of ground-fall-related fatalities have occurred in areas where the roof was supported. In an attempt to better understand the status quo of current US longwall support practices, a sample of 25 longwall mines were visited representing nearly 50% of the currently active longwall mines representing all of the major US longwall-producing regions. The resulting data was obtained from a wide variety of overburden depths, geologic conditions, mining heights, ground conditions, support practices, and gateroad configurations. The data collected is reported using both qualitative and quantitative methods. Results from the research update previous efforts in classifying mining accidents and injuries as well as current support practices presented by this author at the 2017 Society for Mining, Metallurgy, & Exploration Annual Meeting. This data provides a necessary background for future research aimed at further reduction of ground fall accidents and injuries.

Assessing the Quality of Incident Investigations and its Effect on Safety Performance: a Study of the Ghanaian Mining Industry
by Eric Stemn, Maureen E. Hassall, Carmel Bofinger and David Cliff
Cite this article as:
Stemn, E., Hassall, M.E., Bofinger, C. et al. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1145.

Incident investigation is of utmost importance in most high-risk industries and is often used to improve organisational safety. This study was undertaken to examine the content of past incident investigation reports to determine the effectiveness of the incident investigations. The study uses a semi-quantitative method to assess the effectiveness of incident investigations in the Ghanaian mining industry by evaluating the quality of past investigation reports. The assessment tool consists of five elements with several indicators and rating scales for assessing the quality of an investigation report as a measure of the effectiveness of the investigation. The method was applied to 304 investigation reports of three Ghanaian large-scale gold mines, and the results correlated with incidence rates of the mines to determine if any relationship existed. The results showed that the mines differ significantly in the quality of their investigation reports, suggesting differences in the effectiveness of their investigations. In addition, the incidence rates of the mines negatively correlated with some elements of the assessment tool. In general, the method was found useful and revealed areas where improvement is needed.

Techniques for Assessing and Mitigating Longwall Subsidence Effects on Interstate Highways
by Yi Luo, Jian Yang and Hua Jiang
Cite this article as:
Luo, Y., Yang, J. & Jiang, H. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1157.

Surface subsidence induced by underground coal mining activities, especially longwall mining operations, can cause various problems to interstate highways ranging from structural integrity, drivability to safety. Accurate subsidence prediction, correct influence assessments, and effective mitigation measures are the keys to ensure the safety of highway traffic. The surface subsidence prediction program, called comprehensive and integrated subsidence prediction model (CISPM), was developed based on the principle of influence function method and has been validated with a large number of subsidence measurements. In this paper, the techniques to use the predicted final surface movements and deformations for assessing their influence on the integrity and functionality of highway structures (e.g., road surface pavements, concrete slabs, transverse joints, etc.), vehicle dynamics, comfort level, and drivability are presented. A number of mitigation measures to protect the highway structures and to ensure traffic safety are proposed along with an application case.

Empirical Formulae for Determining Pressure Drop Across a 20-Layer Flooded-Bed Scrubber Screen
by Sampurna Arya, Thomas Novak, Kozo Saito, Adam Levy and Joseph Sottile
Cite this article as:
Arya, S., Novak, T., Saito, K. et al. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1169.

The use of a woven wire-mesh screen as part of a flooded-bed dust-scrubbing system is very popular in the underground coal mining industry. It is used in combination with a demister (mist eliminator) to remove dust from the dust-laden air. A study was conducted to measure the pressure drop across a flooded-bed wire-mesh screen at different airflow rates in one-phase (dry) and two-phase (wet) conditions. Two empirical relationships between pressure drop and air velocity were developed for dry and wet conditions, respectively. In both cases, the form of the empirical relationships was found to be similar to relationships given by Sabri Ergun for high velocity non-Darcy single and multi-phase flow through porous media. The experiments were repeated on a reduced-scale model of the wire-mesh screen, and the pressure-velocity relationships obtained from the full-scale prototype experiments were tested. The test results show validation of the full-scale empirical formulas on the small-scale model with an insignificant variation. This paper presents the empirical equations for pressure drop across the wire-mesh screen in dry and wet conditions. Researchers can use these equations as a tool to predict total pressure drops for wire-mesh screens of different scale sizes.

Influence of Air Gap Volume on Achieving Steady-State Velocity of Detonation
by Eugie Kabwe
Cite this article as:
Kabwe, E. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1179.

The velocity of detonation (VOD) is a significant property considered when rating an explosive. It may be quantified as a confined or unconfined velocity. The confined velocity is the rate at which the detonation wave propagates through an explosive within a blast hole or any restrained space. The unconfined velocity emanates when an explosive is detonated in the open. However, the confined velocity is more significant as explosives are usually employed under a definite degree of confinement. This paper evaluates the increment of air deck volume and its effect on the VOD. The air gap (air deck) volume is increased stepwise from 10 to 30% of the total blast hole volume by reducing the stemming height in the collar zone. Thereafter, the VOD estimation in the 172-mm-diameter explosive column is conducted using the Dáutriche technique. It is observed that the VOD reduced with the increasing air deck volume and detonation failure is high when 30% of the blast hole volume is replaced with air deck. It is deduced that the increment of the air deck volume has an effect on the attenuation of the steady-state VOD.

Do Refuge Chambers Represent a Good Strategy to Manage Emergencies in Underground Coal Mines?
by A. E. Halim and J. F. Brune
Cite this article as:
Halim, A.E. & Brune, J.F. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1191.

The 2006 Sago, Darby, and Aracoma mine disasters in the United States (US) forced the US government to implement the 2006 MINER Act and additional regulations that require all US underground coal mines to install and maintain refuge chambers to manage entrapment emergencies, in particular, fires and explosions. However, there is a debate on whether barricading in refuge chambers is a good strategy to survive such emergencies. Australian coal mines are not required to use refuge chambers and, instead, have adopted a strategy that focuses on instructing and training miners to self-escape to the surface. This paper analyzes merits and problems of using refuge chambers and self-escape to the surface to manage emergencies in fires or explosions in an underground coal mine. The authors found that the use of refuge chambers may not be the best strategy during extensive fires or when multiple explosions happen. In these situations, mine rescuers are unlikely able to extract miners who are sheltered in chambers and conversely, self-escape may save more lives than sheltering. Chances for successful self-escape are further improved by regular, externally assessed training such as Level 1 Emergency Exercises required in the Australian State of Queensland. These exercises put pressure on mine operators to ensure and maintain the effectiveness of their emergency management system.

A Field Study of Longwall Mine Ventilation Using Tracer Gas in a Trona Mine
by V. Gangrade, S. J. Schatzel and S. P. Harteis
Cite this article as:
Gangrade, V., Schatzel, S.J. & Harteis, S.P. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1201.

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).

Validation of the Predicted Heat Strain Model in Hot Underground Mines
by Paloma Lazaro and Moe Momayez
Cite this article as:
Lazaro, P. & Momayez, M. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1213.

Heat-related illnesses (HRI) are relatively common in both hot surface and underground mining operations. When workers are exposed to extreme heat or strenuous work in a hot environment, they become prone to heat stress. Heat strain is the result of the body’s response to external and internal heat stress. It is therefore vital for the conditions leading to heat strain be detected and treated in a timely manner. Heat-related illnesses are manifested by exhaustion and heat stroke. The predicted heat strain (PHS) [ISO 7933 (2004)] model has been developed to predict the health condition of the worker in terms of core body temperature and water loss. The PHS model tested in this study is based on eight physical parameters that are measured at different intervals during a work shift. They include air temperature, humidity, radiation, air velocity, metabolic rate, clothing insulation, posture, and acclimatization. The model predictions are then compared with a direct physiological measurement, such as core body temperature. We present the results of an extensive study that monitored and predicted body’s response to heat stress under different environmental and working conditions. The PHS model provided reliable results in most instances in comparison with other prediction methods currently in use in the field.

Pit Optimization on Clustered Realizations: Identifying Functional Scenarios
by Brandon Wilson, Tyler Acorn and Jeff Boisvert
Cite this article as:
Wilson, B., Acorn, T. & Boisvert, J. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1221.

Scenario-level uncertainty is a representation of large-scale differences encountered when considering ultimate mining pits optimized over various subsets of stochastic realizations. Accounting for scenario-level uncertainty allows mine plans to be assessed against several probabilistic subsurface interpretations. Scenario-level uncertainty is found through clustering stochastic geostatistical realizations and optimizing final pits across the realizations in each cluster. Where these pits are geometrically different, plans for each scenario differ. Knowing these differences allows the value of each planning alternative to be assessed based on the value and relative probability of each scenario. These results also facilitate the use of formal decision-making frameworks for planning, leading to optimization that better represents the full statistical characterization of the deposit. An example utilizing this approach evaluates both infrastructure placement and drilling program requirements. In both cases, scenario-level uncertainty improves initial plans by limiting opportunity costs and identifying additional potential.

Dynamic Models in Atmospheric Monitoring Signal Evaluation for Safety, Health and Cost Benefits
by G. L. Danko, W. K. Asante, D. Bahrami and C. Stewart
Cite this article as:
Danko, G.L., Asante, W.K., Bahrami, D. et al. Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration (2019) 36: 1235.

It is prudent to interpret atmospheric monitoring signals in real time for checking the safe limits of the air conditions in underground mines. In gassy mines, real-time evaluation increases the safety of operations. In all mines, continuous monitoring and evaluation contributes to maintaining air conditions within healthy and safe limits. Signal interpretation for safety conditions in mines is difficult for many reasons. An increase in hazardous contaminant concentrations can be predicted by signal pattern recognition, root cause analysis of rapid changes toward deterioration, and forward prediction in time using algorithms and numerical models. The paper describes an early warning system for analyzing monitored signal patterns continuously in real time as well as forward predicting the various environmental and working conditions to recognize dangerous trends that may affect safety and health in underground mines. A dynamic, numerical ventilation model with heat and gas contaminant simulation components is used for the analysis of atmospheric data. Methods and test results are discussed with numerical examples for signal propagation prediction. Several mine examples are studied using controlled, synthetic data for malfunction simulations to evaluate time delays between the detection time of suspicious signal trends and the time of dangerous threshold crossing marking an accident scenario. Delay time is found in the order of 20 min in the examples, signifying the useful time period for preventive intervention between EWS warning and the likely breakout of a following accident.