Spontaneous Combustion and Simulation of Mine Fires and Their Effects on Mine Ventilation Systems


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. The project has Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) funding and also relies on substantial mining company site support. This practical input from mine operators is essential and allows the approach to be introduced in the most creditable way. The effort is built around the introduction of fire simulation computer software to the Australian mining industry and the consequent modelling of fire scenarios in selected different mine layouts. Application of the simulation software package to the changing mine layouts requires experience to achieve realistic outcomes. Most Australian mines of 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 on the mine ventilation system, it is necessary to understood the possible effects of mine fires on various mine ventilation systems correctly first. Case studies demonstrating the possible effects of fires on some typical Australian coal mine ventilation circuits have been examined. The situation in which there is some gas make at the face and effects with fire have also been developed to emphasise how unstable and dangerous situations may arise. The primary objective of the part of the study described in this paper is to use mine fire simulation software to gain better understanding of how spontaneous combustion initiated fires can interact with the complex ventilation behaviour underground during a substantial fire. It focuses on the simulation of spontaneous combustion sourced heatings that develop into open fires. Further, it examines ventilation behaviour effects of spontaneous combustion initiated pillar fires and examines the difficulties these can be present if a ventilation reversal occurs. It also briefly examines simulation of use of the inertisation to assist in mine recovery. Mine fires are recognised across the world as a major hazard issue. New approaches allowing improvement in understanding their consequences have been developed as an aid in handling this complex area.


Mining Engineering


Australian Coal Association
University of Queensland

Keywords and Phrases

Ventgraph Mine Fire Simulation Software; Mine Fires

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





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

Publication Date

01 Apr 2005