A Probabilistic Method for Mine Heat Prediction


The provision of a suitable working environment in deep level mines requires the accurate prediction of the ventilation heat load. Mathematical models for predicting strata heat load have been under development since the 1930's and 1940's. Computer models for predicting this and other mine heat sources have been developed and refined over the last 20 years. Some empirical studies have occurred and there is an increased emphasis on the importance of underground studies. Any theoretically or empirically determined predictive method must of necessity make assumptions. Underground space with its irregular configurations and rough wall surfaces cannot be described by simple mathematical expressions. Some heat loads, such as machinery, may occur intermittently while others such as the influence of water evaporation are very difficult to quantify accurately. Current popular models for predicting mine heat load have been surveyed. In testing some of these it is often found that each estimates significantly different quantitative values for the expected load in a particular underground space under study. These differences are explained by the assumptions, simplifications and omissions implicit in each of these models. It would be easier to estimate conditions at any point if heat flow into mine air passageways could be described by simple equations with associated statistically-based confidence ranges. Use of probability distributions to indicate confidence ranges allows any heat level estimate to be expressed as a range of values with limits for maximum and minimum expected values. This approach allows many of the limitations of the popular predictive models to be overcome. A heat prediction method using this approach has been developed based on Monte Carlo simulation and tested on mine data from a number of operations. Heat flow levels which can be predicted by simple equations supported by probability distributions allow the engineer flexibility in adjusting a predictive model to the underground characteristics appropriate to the mine site under study. The influence of all heat sources present in the mine opening must be included. Prediction methods must be updated as mining systems and machinery change with time. Heat sources interact with one another and the system must therefore be understood in its entirety.


Mining and Nuclear Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Mines; Strata Heat Load; Ventilation Heat Load

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 1987 Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), All rights reserved.

This document is currently not available here.