Australia’s mining industry is an important industry, both in terms of export revenue as well as OH&S issues.
Although Australia is a world leader in workplace safety for the mining industry, the sheer scale of the industry has its inherent dangers.
Mine ventilation is one area that calls for a number of significant work practices and technologies to be well developed so as to ensure the safety of all mining employees.
Eximo, a ducting technology supplier for mine ventilation has worked closely with their technical partners to make sure such installations and identified key objectives are implemented.
Keeping the dust out
General Manager at Eximo, Ms. Melissa Phelps says that when designing a mine auxiliary ventilation system, the basic objectives are:
- Sufficient provision of clean air for individuals and equipment
- Adequate ventilation for the removal or dilution of hazardous gasses and dust
According to Ms. Phelps, air quantity must be considered in terms of both velocity and volume: the air velocity in the entry or tunnel and the volume of air required for workers.
Various constraints also come into play including head room over haulage, length of duct and associated handling problems, potential for damage from blasting as well as correct sizing of duct and fans.
Other considerations include legal and contractual requirements for fans and duct, preferred directional airflow as well as acceptable levels of leakage for the determination of duct lengths.
Ducts are available in four categories including steel, fibreglass, flexible suction and lay-flat.
For suction ducting, steel offers advantages such as low initial investment as well as non-flammable and low friction material, making it suitable for moderate length ventilation runs, drill and shoot operations, and single use applications.
Using better and new materials
Fibreglass is also suitable for suction ducting and apart from durability is also flame resistant.
Fibreglass ducting holds up well to abuse, is lightweight, gives high positive and negative pressure, has a low friction factor and is best suited for short-length ventilation runs, multiple reuse operations, drill and shoot operations as well as mine development.
Lay-flat, also of a low initial investment has a pressure rating dependent on material and construction with a medium friction factor and low leakage in long lengths, but requires an additional fan for reversing airflow on OSHA jobs.
Helping the entire mining supply chain
Eximo mine ventilation ducting systems can be installed in diverse environments.
Genalysis is a mining and sampling laboratory that offers a comprehensive range of analytical services to the global mineral exploration industry.
Recently, Genalysis installed Eximo SpeedLock telescopic ducting and flexible extraction systems to not only lower the amount of dust in the atmosphere for its workers, but also to ensure no cross-contamination of samples would occur, thus potentially costing its customers many thousands of dollars in incorrect results.
According to Mathew Summers, second-in-charge of the sample preparation division of Genalysis, the ducting system is an essential part of their operation as the extraction removes the excess dust in the sample preparation areas.
The size of dust is about 75 microns and the Eximo extraction system, along with the Donaldson filters and bags works very well.