Simulation of the Effects of Inertisation of Fires on Mine Ventilation Systems


A research project incorporating a number of mine site exercises to reduce the effects of fire incidents and possible consequent health and safety hazards has been undertaken focused on the application of mine fire simulation software packages for contaminate tracing and fire modelling in coal and metalliferous mines. This paper examines aspects of introduction of inert gases to underground workings to aid recovery of a mine following a fire. Broad conclusions from work undertaken at individual Australian coal mines are discussed as examples. The effort is built around the introduction of the fire simulation computer program 'Ventgraph' to the Australian mining industry and the consequent modelling of fire scenarios in selected different mine layouts. Case studies have been developed to examine usage of inertisation units and particularly application of the GAG jet engine unit. One example has focused on selection of the best surface portal location for placement of the GAG for most efficient suppression of a fire. A second has examined a situation with significant seam gas being emitted on the face. This has shown that under certain face dip angles stopping the mine surface fan to reduce dilution of GAG exhaust gases will cause reversal of face air and consequent mine explosion as gas laden air is drawn across a fire. A third examines inertisation and dilution issues in mains headings. Mains headings present a complex ventilation network with often numerous parallel headings, hundreds of cut-throughs and a variety of ventilation control devices. In such a complex system (with additional interference from a fire), maintaining control of the movement of inert gas is more difficult than elsewhere in the mine. Some illustrations of this issue are given. Mine fires are recognised across the world as a major hazard issue. New approaches allowing improvement in understanding their consequences have been examined. The outcome of the completed 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.

Meeting Name

8th International Mine Ventilation Congress (2005: Jul. 6-8, Brisbane, Australia)


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Coal Mines; Fire Incidents; Fire Modelling; Metalliferous Mines; Mine Fire Simulation Software Packages

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2005 Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

08 Jul 2005

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