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Conference Proceedings

Australian Mine Ventilation Conference 2017

Conference Proceedings

Australian Mine Ventilation Conference 2017

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Delivering a healthy atmosphere underground in a cost-conscious environment

The adverse health impacts from diesel particulate matter (DPM) exposure are a well-known global concern. The building evidence has triggered underground mining operations to review existing atmospheric conditions and assess the scale of the challenge faced. South32's Cannington Mine (Cannington) evaluated the ability to provide a healthy atmosphere from a whole mine approach, taking into account existing preventative controls including: maintenance strategies, fuel quality, mining operations, ventilation provisions, monitoring protocols and effective education and training programs.During the evaluation process, Cannington gave due recognition to the advice and guidance provided in the Queensland Guidance Note 21 (QGN21), the Guidelines of New South Wales' MDG29 and Mining Industry Advisory Committee (MIAC) of Western Australia. Each of these documents advises a dilution rate of >0.06 m3/s/kW is best for reduction of DPM exposure in underground mines.Achieving the prescribed mine ventilation rate typically results in the need to directly invest significant capital into increasing ventilation infrastructure in order to further dilute contaminants. In today's economic market of volatile metal prices and increasing pressures to meet regulatory requirements, it can become challenging for established metalliferous operations to create a balance between optimisation of current ventilation infrastructure and capital outlay.In order to obtain and correctly justify the requirements for capital investiture Cannington conducted a ventilation operational analysis for the life-of-operation, identifying the existing air volume envelope was adequate for current and future production rates by optimising existing primary ventilation infrastructure through the implementation of a modified ventilation on demand (VoD) and air conservation system.This process achieved sustainable operating and capital cost reductions without compromising delivery of adequate ventilation to work areas. The process also recognised that engaging mine workers' ownership of their work areas is crucial to maintaining a technically efficient and operationally robust ventilation system.This paper will concentrate on Cannington's existing preventative controls, their implementation and their management for the prevention of increased DPM exposure; reducing the risk of both short and long-term health impacts to as low as reasonably achievable' (ALARA).CITATION:Black, J and Reid, D, 2017. Delivering a healthy atmosphere underground in a cost-conscious environment, in Proceedings Australian Mine Vent Conference 2017, pp 159-168 (The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy: Melbourne).
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  • Published: 2016
  • PDF Size: 1.456 Mb.
  • Unique ID: P201704023

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