Challenges in Undertaking Inertisation of Fires in Underground Mines


Inertisation is used to enhance the safety of underground mine areas either to avoid the potential for a combustion event or to stabilize a situation after an ignition, fire or heating. The primary objective of a recently completed Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) study was to review coal mine inertisation and in particular to focus on use of the Polish mine fire simulation software Ventgraph to gain better understanding of how various inertisation units interact with the complex ventilation behavior underground during a substantial fire. Critical aspects targeted for examination under the project grant included location of the unit for high priority fire positions, size of borehole or pipe range required, time required for inertisation output to interact with and extinguish a fire, effects of seam gases on fire behavior with inertisation present and main fan management. A major accomplishment of the project has been to take findings from the simulation exercises to develop inertisation related modifications to the Ventgraph fire simulation program in conjunction with the Polish program authors. Selected mines were “evaluated or audited”as to the ability to deliver inert gases generated from GAG units to high priority underground fire locations .A coding system has been developed and many potential underground mine fire sources cannot be successfully inertized with the GAG docked at the current specified point; this is particularly so for fires in extended areas of workings or in panels. There is a limit to the ability of the GAG jet engine to deliver exhaust down smaller dimension borehole. There is a need to examine the use of the GAG for production or proactive uses in a wider application in Australian mines responding to recovering from mine fires, spontaneous combustion heating's, elimination of the potential explosibility of newly sealed gobs or inert mines or mine sections on closure. Some of the current uses of low flow inertisation facilities could be more effectively undertaken with the GAG unit.

Meeting Name

12th U.S./North American Mine Ventilation Symposium (2008: Jun. 9-11, Reno, NV)


Mining Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Fire; Heating; Ignition; Inertisation

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2008 Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration Inc. (SME), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

11 Jun 2008

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