Issues in Use of Inertisation of Fires in Australian Mines


An ACARP funded research project has been examining use and potential applications of inertisation within the Australian coal mining industry. The project has reviewed the variety of inertisation system available in Australia and their technical specifications. Particular attention has been given to the GAG, Mine Shield, Tomlinson and Floxel approaches. Exercises which involved “evaluation or auditing” of selected mines as to the ability to deliver inert gases generated from GAG units to high priority underground fire locations have been undertaken in a number of mines. These exercises have been built around the use of the fire simulation computer program “Ventgraph” and modelling of fire scenarios in selected different mine layouts. A coding system has been developed from these audit exercises. Designs have been developed of high pressure/compressor fans to allow delivery of high volumes of inert gases down “emergency drilled” mine bore holes of 200 to 3,000mm diameter. Information about available borehole sizes has been gathered from drilling contractors. Various tables have been developed relating borehole diameter and depth, fan compressor pressure and inertisation unit output. Inertisation and dilution issues in Mains headings are examined. 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 and heatings are recognised across the world as a major hazard issue. New approaches allowing improvement in understanding their use of inertisation techniques have been examined. The outcome of the 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.


Mining Engineering


Australian Coal Association
CSIRO (Australia)
Queensland Mines Rescue Service
University of Queensland

Keywords and Phrases

GAG Units; Inertisation; Inertisation System; Underground Fire Locations

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2006 Queensland Mining Industry, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Aug 2006