The increasing demand in recent years for energy in China has resulted in coal being mined in complex geological conditions. This has included the mining of coal seams located beneath reservoirs, aquifers and flooded abandoned mine workings. Throughout China the extraction of coal in these circumstances has resulted in groundwater inrushes into working mines. This has caused loss of lives, disruption or abandonment of coal mining, and the sterilization of coal resources. This paper demonstrates that numerical modelling using ANSYS-2D, FLAC-2D and FLAC-3D combined with field observations may provide a method for the modelling of fractures that develop in the rock mass above a roof of coal mines. These fractures may increase significantly the permeability of the strata and groundwater flows into mine workings.