COMPREHENSIVE HEAT STUDY AT A WYOMING UNDERGROUND TRONA MINE
The FMC Westvaco Trona Mine is located near Green River, Wyoming and has an annual production of 4.5 M tons. The underground mine has three active development panels and one longwall panel. The mining horizon is about 500 m below surface and strata liberate methane. Three surface-based blowing fans provide ventilation air. A ventilation survey and subsequent analysis was undertaken and a simulation model developed. Air heating during winter is essential to prevent freezing of pipelines and to lesser degree, for miner comfort. Air at all three intake shafts is heated using gas-fired heat exchangers. A strata heat study was conducted in one of the active panels to determine rock attributes. Tests included in-situ measurements of rock thermal conductivity and geothermal gradient. Continuously methane monitors have also been installed in an active development panel’s return drift. Ventsim ventilation software was used to aid the heat and contaminant simulation study. An exercise was also undertaken to gain some understanding of methane contaminant levels throughout the mine. It was further used to determine an adequate surface intake air heating rate and consequently the minimum natural gas consumption needed for winter intake air heating at the mine.
Temperature; Heat; Shafts; Rocks; Rock; Air; heat transfer; Mines; Mine;