The Ventilation Challenge - To Maintain A Tolerable Working Environment In Deep Mines

CIM Montreal 2003
Charles Kocsis,
Abstract Worldwide, metal mines are going deeper, for example in Canada there are six such mines planning production at 3000m (10,000’). Working at such depths challenges all aspects of mining including the provision of ventilation to supply an equitable working climate for personnel and machinery.

This paper looks at the overall challenges of supplying ventilation at depth and how the volumes required could be minimized. This is essential because it must be remembered that ventilation and refrigeration are not only costly items to supply, but the magnitude of their cost is also very sensitive to the volume supplied. For ventilation this is obvious because of the cubic relationship between volume and cost.

In deep mines, the main function of ventilation is the removal of heat transferred from the strata and generated by the mining machinery, and the air volumes supplied are designed accordingly. The second consideration is the removal of other pollutants that could be harmful to humans such as diesel and explosive fumes. However, the need for ventilation at its present design levels could be reduced. This paper looks at the implications of such technologies as: tele-remote mining and alternatives to diesel equipment on the magnitude of the volume supplied; ventilation-on-demand which recognises ventilation as a costly and limited resource; plus other aspects, such as the benefits of controlled recirculation, spot cooling, and heat rejection back to the strata to gain further advantage from new developments.
Keywords: Mine planning, Mine economics, Deep Mining, Mine ventilation
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