CFD ANALYSIS OF THE MAIN FAN PARALLEL INSTALLATION FOR THE 2012–2014 UNDERGROUND DEVELOPMENTS OF THE NEW LEVEL MINE PROJECT

World Mining Congress
The New Level Mine project (NLMP), the planned underground expansion of the El Teniente mine in Rancagua, Chile, is expected to reach a daily extraction rate of 137 to 180 ktpd upon achieving full capacity. Production is planned to start in the year 2017 and the current plan is to meet that target through two development phases, from the year 2012 to 2014 and from the year 2015 to 2017. To achieve the 2012 to 2014 underground development schedule, the ventilation requirements have been estimated in the range of 189 m3/s (400 kcfm), and cannot be made available without significant modifications to the current system of El Teniente. As a result, a certain number of alternatives were explored to find a solution to this shortfall, for example, adding raises to generate parallel airways and installing fans to reinforce the current ventilation system. From the alternatives studied, the installation of a second main fan (system) in parallel to an existing one was identified as the best solution, and selected for implementation, however the location was not ideal and there were concerns as to the operation of both fans once the second fan was installed. This paper presents the study used to estimate the operational points of both the current and the new fan, and to justify the parallel installation of the additional main fan. An additional computational fluid dynamics study was undertaken to validate the operational point, given the particular geometry of the fan’s location and placement, to guarantee a stable operation of the fans. Finally, the protocols arising out of this work for starting the fans, and operating them in parallel to avoid generating a stall condition and damaging the investment are discussed.
Keywords: Fans; Pressure; Projects; Mines; Mine; Ventilation; Operation; Simulations; Simulation;
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