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Roof falls due to poor rock conditions in a coal longwall panel may threaten miner's life and cause significant interruption to mine production. There has been a requirement for technologies that are capable of imaging the rock conditions in longwall coal mining, ahead of the working face and without any interruption to production. A feasibility study was carried out to investigate the characteristics of seismic signals generated by the continuous coal cutter (shearer) and recorded by geophone arrays deployed ahead of the working face, for the purpose of seismic tomographic imaging of roof strata condition before mining. Two experiments were conducted at a coal mine using two arrays of geophones. The experiments have demonstrated that the longwall shearer generates strong and low-frequency ( ~ 40 Hz) seismic energy that can be adequately detected by geophones deployed in shallow boreholes along the roadways as far as 300 m from the face. Using noise filtering and signal cross correlation techniques, the seismic arrival times associated with the shearer cutting can be reliably determined. It has proved the concept that velocity variations ahead of the face can be mapped out using tomographic techniques while mining is in progress.