Australian Mine Emergency Exercises Aided by Fire Simulation


The structure of a comprehensive research project into mine fires study applying the Ventgraph mine fire simulation software, preplanning of escape scenarios and general interaction with rescue responses is outlined. Some outcomes from a project funded by the Australian Coal Association Research Program and substantial mining company site support are described. Mine site testing has allowed the approach to be introduced in the most creditable way. The project has assisted the Australian coal mining industry to attain an improved position in their understanding of mine fires and the use of modern advances to preplan actions to be taken in the advent of mine fires and possible emergency incidents. Work undertaken at individual mines is discussed as examples. Most Australian mines of reasonable size currently use a ventilation network simulation program. Under the project a small subroutine has been written to transfer the input data from the existing mine ventilation network simulation program to Ventgraph. This has been tested successfully. To understand fire simulation behaviour the mine ventilation system must first be understood correctly. The simulation of safe escape scenarios as part of emergency evacuation is described. Approaches to improving the ability of all levels of the mine workforce to evacuate mine workings in the safest way are examined, developed through pre-learning of appropriate escape strategies. The effect of use of a GAG inertisation unit to smother a fire after personnel have been withdrawn is examined. Work undertaken with appropriate bodies during preplanning and subsequently during the course of a mine rescue and recovery emergency exercise is discussed. Some comments have been made on the ventilation aspects of the emergency exercise from observations made during the course of the incident. Some of these are set down as observations and some were personal comments from participating individuals. A key aspect of the software is the ability to model fires in a mine and the consequent effects of control measures such as ventilation changes and the introduction of inertisation using the GAG engine. Management is provided with a pre-emptive tool that gives ability to have control measures such as emergency seals or doors in place, as well as a predictive tool for analysing actions prior to implementation in the event of a fire.

Meeting Name

3rd School of Mine Ventilation (2004: Oct. 12-15, Zakopane, Poland)


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Ventgraph; Mine Fires; Mine Ventilation Software; Rescue Responses

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type




Publication Date

15 Oct 2004

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