Historically, mining ventilation systems have been forced to balance energy consumption and prices, environmental effect, and worker safety.
FREMONT, CA: Mining ventilation systems are critical for the safe operation of underground mines since they supply fresh circulation, remove contaminated air and help reduce the working surface's heat and humidity.
The following are the most significant innovations in mining ventilation.
Ventilation on demand
Ventilation on Demand (VOD) systems have grown in popularity to increase ventilation efficiency, with companies such as Bestech, ABB, and Simsmart selling software variants. VOD enables a more intuitive ventilation system by allowing software to arrange airflow to various areas of the mine according to a daily timetable, in response to pre-programmed events, or by tracking environmental parameters or the whereabouts of employees and equipment throughout the mine.
These technologies can minimise mines' overall air demand by directing air only when required and lowering energy use.
VOD systems can theoretically be combined with tag and tracking systems, allowing ventilation software to detect persons and equipment within the mine and guide airflow to appropriate work zones. In practice, it appears as though the concept is more straightforward stated than done. VOD system innovation has centred on making that selling point a constantly practical reality. A system that can automatically control airflow speed, temperature, and direction has enormous cost-cutting potential.
Air quality sensors
Surface-level monitoring stations can monitor the air quality in underground mines directly utilising real-time sensors that can be swapped out without requiring time-consuming recalibration underneath.
The Ultra-Deep Mining Network and its partners have created sensors calibrated on the surface in a stable, controlled environment and then 'hot swapped' with existing underground sensors. Modern air quality sensors are marketed as enhancing productivity by eliminating the requirement for manual subsurface calibration and expediting remediation operations in the event of toxic gas detection.
Air quality stations can reliably monitor the rate and direction of airflow, gas levels, barometric pressure, and wet/dry bulb temperatures in real-time. This information may then be used to modify the main and auxiliary ventilation fans as needed.
Several technologies included in this category are Industrial Internet of Things devices that connect directly to existing networks without requiring new equipment, resulting in efficiency gains without requiring extensive hardware reconfiguration.
While dust, carbon dioxide, and poisonous gases such as methane are all significant air quality concerns for miners, most subterranean ventilation concerns are caused by nitrogen dioxide emissions from diesel cars. However, increased adoption of electric mining vehicles may change that.
Rapid advancements in battery technology have prompted mining corporations to begin substituting lithium-ion battery-powered vehicles and drills with diesel-fuelled alternatives. For underground mines, electric cars not only improve the environment. They also cut gas and heat emissions, decreasing the need for additional ventilation throughout the mine.
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