Ventilation systems are crucial to ensure safe working conditions in underground mines. They provide fresher, cooler air for mineworkers, as well as clearing toxic fumes from blasting and exhaust fumes from diesel equipment. In deep and hot mines, ventilation is also required to cool the workplace for miners. The primary sources of heat in underground hard-rock mines are virgin-rock temperature, machinery, auto compression and fissure water, while other small contributing factors are human body heat and blasting.
A good mine-ventilation system is a real-time process that requires excellent balancing of climate controls and the dilution of exhaust gases and hazardous substances to ensure a safe working environment for staff. Ventilation raises are excavated to provide ventilation for the workplaces, and they can also be modified for use as emergency escape routes.
Ever-increasing energy costs and the need to conserve energy have prompted many mines to examine their operations and identify potential saving methods. Ventilation systems are a large part of the energy consumption of underground mines, particularly deeper mines - at some sites it can account for as much as 50% of the total energy consumption. Smart ventilation systems, which bring the supply of ventilation in line with the demands of the mine, can result in significant energy and cost savings.
Read the full article here. (Article by Ailbhe Goodbody, Mining Magazine)