Fire Simulation Software Assisting Inertisation of Underground Mine Workings


A study has reviewed the variety of mine inertisation systems available in Australia and their technical specifications. Exercises which involved “evaluation or auditing” of selected mines as to the ability to deliver inert gases generated from inertisation units to high priority underground fire locations have been undertaken in a number of mines. These exercises have been built around the use of the fire simulation computer program VENTGRAPH and modelling of fire scenarios in selected different mine layouts. A coding system has been developed from these audit exercises. Designs have been developed to allow delivery of high volumes of inert gases down mine bore holes. A section of the paper has examined considerations presented by the layouts of underground mines developed from surface extraction pits. Inertisation and dilution issues in mine openings create complex situations. Mains headings present a complex ventilation network with often numerous parallel headings, hundreds of cut-throughs and a variety of ventilation control devices. In these complex systems the additional interference from a fire means maintaining control of the movement of inert gas is more difficult than elsewhere in the mine. Some illustrations of these issues are given. Mine fires and heatings are recognised across the world as a major hazard issue. New approaches allowing improvement in understanding their use of inertisation techniques have been examined. The outcome of the project is that the mining industry is in an improved position in their understanding of mine fires, use of inertisation and the use of modern advances to preplan for the handling of possible emergency incidents.


Mining Engineering


Australian Coal Association Research Program
Polish Academy of Mining Sciences
University of Kentucky

Keywords and Phrases

Inertisation Units; Mine Inertisation Systems; Underground Fire Locations

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type




Publication Date

01 Sep 2009

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