Multi-physics Modelling for Improved Design of Underground Mine Ventilation: Control of Methane, Dust, Diesel Emission and Temperature

MEMO 2014
It is well known that underground miners are exposed to one of the most dangerous working environments on earth. As miners delve deeper into the earth, the rock pressure and temperature rise, which in turn have an adverse effect on the environment and thus lead to higher operating costs. Furthermore, in coal mines where methane gas and dust is also produced in coal beds, the combination of methane accumulation, oxygen and spark/heat can trigger explosions – which may cause fatal accidents. Generally, mining environments are dynamic and changing very rapidly during extraction process. Essentially, changes in mine environment affect the performance of ventilation system. Careful estimation and design of air flow rate, spray system, cooling load and additional ventilation auxiliary equipment are of importance to ensure safety, comfortability and productivity whilst maintaining low operating cost.

In this paper, three-dimensional structures of a mine development zone together with its auxiliary ventilation system are simulated using a computational fluid dynamic approach. Several designs and ventilations scenarios are evaluated with respect to methane dispersion, dust distribution, diesel emission control and thermal management in mines. Effects of design and operating parameters, e.g., fan power, placement of air duct, length of mine advancement, diesel emission and heat generated from mining machine, are examined to ensure good and safe design. The advantages and limitations of each design are discussed and compared not only in terms of quality and quantity, but also in terms of the overall pressure drop and energy requirements which represent the associated cost of ventilation and air conditioning system.
Keywords: underground mine,thermal management,diesel emission control,dust control,mine ventilation,methane control
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