Trial of Controlled Partial Recirculation of Ventilation Air At Mount Isa Mines


The ventilation and cooling of deep, hot mines present particular problems in Australia as a consequence of the surface climate, the size of the underground voids, the degree of mechanization and the cost of power in remote areas. A preliminary investigation of the effects of controlled partial recirculation of air was conducted in Mount Isa Mines' Deep Copper section. Gas and dust concentrations were measured in the exhaust air of the major working section to assess the potential for recirculating exhaust air to the intake airways to reduce the cost of providing an acceptable working environment in the deep parts of the mine. Studies were undertaken of airborne dust deposition in vertical airways and the efficiency of usage of the ventilation air in diluting contaminants. It was established that 45% of the respirable dust was deposited in a 130-m vertical raise and 60% of the air supplied to the section could be reused or recirculated. The first major field trial of a controlled partial recirculation system in Australia was undertaken in the light of these results and demonstrated excellent potential for significant reduction in ventilation costs. Gas and dust contaminant levels were well below the threshold limit values during the trial. It is concluded that controlled partial recirculation can be a practical, effective and safe aid to normal ventilation practice in Australian deep, hot mines. © The Institution of Mining and Metallurgy 2001.


Mining Engineering

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Article - Journal

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© 2001 Maney Publishing, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Jan 2001