Monitoring Insights from a Ventilation On Demand Collaborative Research Initiative

Glenn Lyle, Andrew Dasys, Charles Kocsis, Keith Bullock, Kevin Butler,
Abstract A collaborative research project involving industry, government and small and medium enterprises to assess the benefits that ventilation on demand (VOD) can provide to new and existing mines, and to assess the viability of moving to a quality based control criteria has recently been completed.

The scope of this work was broad, encompassing evaluating existing technology, developing additional potential and producing a mechanism to evaluate the net benefits of the various levels of VOD that could be implemented in either existing or new mines. The concept of VOD is to better manage a mine’s ventilation distribution to avoid the redundant deployment of ventilation to an active area when unoccupied during the normal production schedule and to remove the duplication of a ventilation demand to several potential locations to accommodate production flexibility for every piece of equipment. It also has the potential to release the air from these areas to allow greater production. It is not a solution for mines where their supplied volume is already inadequate to meet the demands of their diesel fleet. Previous studies within two large base metal mines have shown that on the local level, auxiliary ventilation of a workplace may only be required 25% of the time, and mine-wide the lack frequent redistribution could require the primary ventilation system to provide 2.5x more air than it actually requires on a shift basis. This lack of utilization of the air is wasteful not only in terms of energy but in the associated cost and hence the interest of the larger mines where ventilation costs are a significant line item in their overall budget.

However, this work has provided some significant insights into the use of monitors and what are the most demanding pollutant criteria that should be of interest to the industry as a whole. This presentation will focus on these findings which will include the confident use of gas and environmental monitors as a control criteria or for compliance monitoring and their placement with respect to recognizing activity, technology gaps and potential solutions.
Keywords: Ventilation on Demand, Contaminant Monitoring, Mine ventilation, Worker Protection
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