A new approach to maximize the natural conditioning system at Creighton Mine
Creighton Mine is part of the mining history of Sudbury with more than 100 years of operation. Currently the deeper levels of the mine are reaching the 8000 ft level without implementation of mechanical refrigeration system as a result of the use of the Natural Heat Exchange Area (NHEA) over the past decades. The NHEA of Creighton Mine is part of an old block caving area divided into 4 blocks of trenches that were used to extract the ore. Currently, it is used year round to condition the outside temperature before the airflow enters the fresh air system of the mine. As the mine is progressing deeper, underground temperatures in the lower levels are starting to approach the limit of Vale Inco’s guidelines for working in heat. This paper presents the study developed to improve the management of the NHEA to obtain cooler temperatures at the intake of the ventilation system and outlines the impact to the mine in terms of the additional level(s) that could be operated underground without the use of mechanical refrigeration. This is another of the efforts currently under development for energy conservation and to reduce the capital and operational costs of Creighton Mine while extending the expected life of the mine.