Assessment of the Efficiencies of Auxiliary Ventilation Systems Using Empirical Methods


Increasing depths and mechanization of underground mines have led to the production of large amounts of gaseous and particulate contaminants. Over 100,000 lives have been lost due to methane gas and dust explosions in coal mine workings in both the United States and Canada since 1900. There is, therefore, the need to constantly assess and evaluate the performance of existing mine ventilation systems to maintain safe and acceptable mine environmental conditions. This paper advances research initiatives in the control of methane gas in underground mine environments. It uses the results of continuous monitoring of methane gas concentrations conducted in selected coal mines in North America to assess the effectiveness of existing auxiliary ventilation systems to control methane gas concentrations. The results show that the average quantities of fresh air required to dilute, disperse and remove methane gas concentrations within set levels of one minute varied from 5.43 m³/sec. to 27.97 m³/sec. in the development headings. The average dilution times in the headings studied were less than eight minutes. The calculated dilution efficiencies of the auxiliary ventilation systems in the headings varied from 12% to 139%. These efficiencies ranged from poor to excellent. This implies that the auxiliary ventilation systems were capable of controlling the methane gas concentrations below statutory levels but may not be able to cope with large and unusual methane gas concentrations in the headings. This study is significant in the control of methane gas and coal dust explosions in coal mines.


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Air Flow; Auxiliary Ventilation Systems; Coal; Methane Gas; Underground Mining

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2001 Canadian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2001

This document is currently not available here.