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Maximizing Volumetric Efficiency for Ventilation Systems in Temporarily Reduced Flow Environments of Block Cave Mines

Garrett Schult, Brian Prosser
Monday, November 19, 2018
First presented: 
SIVM 2018 Santiago, Chile
Published paper
Mine Ventilation

There are times in a mine life when airflow may need to be temporarily reduced. This may be the result of maintenance/loss of a fan or air heater/cooler or shaft maintenance. Without proper planning mine operators can be underprepared for these events, and not know how to handle the off-normal operation of a sudden and prolonged temporary reduction in airflow. The complexity of the ventilation systems associated with a block cave mine require unique methodologies and actions to continue operations under reduced ventilation scenarios. By having a strategy in place, the available airflow can be redistributed to predetermined areas in the mine to lessen disruption to production, development, and cave operations. It is also imperative to recognize the safety impacts from the abridged ventilation system, such as the potential for airflow reversals in some areas of the mine, including fixed facilities and between levels. Maintaining legislative airflows can be challenging. It is vital to understand the impact on main and booster fans when the ventilation system is in a state of fluctuation. This paper provides suggestions in generating a plan for temporary reduced ventilation situations in a block cave mine, while maintaining safety and maximizing production. This plan was used in maximizing operations for reduced airflow situations at Oyu Tolgoi Mine.

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Feature Author

Garrett Schult

Garrett Schult is a ventilation consultant the Clovis business unit of SRK Consulting, Inc. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Mining Engineering from the University of Nevada, Reno. Garrett has over 7 years of ventilation experience in mine and tunnel ventilation projects. He is a ventilation engineer that has worked with coal mines, metal/non-metal mines, and other subsurface facilities and has performed many ventilation surveys and studies for mines across North America, South America, and Asia. He has experience in analysing ventilation system design to determine improvements, optimization, and future planning recommendations for subsurface projects and is proficient in many of the latest ventilation software tools.

Mine Ventilation Engineer
SRK Clovis
Brian Prosser

Mr. Prosser has over 20 years of experience in the design and planning of large underground ventilation systems, ventilation and air climatic surveys, network analysis, dust and gas control, and the development of network ventilation and fire models. He has experience overseeing numerous ventilation studies involving nuclear waste repositories, hard rock mines, and coal mines. Brian has performed ventilation studies, surveys, optimization and planning for mines located in North America, South America, Europe and Indonesia. Brian has been responsible for survey planning, coordination with third party consultants and vendors, business development and job estimating. He has also conducted ventilation short courses to expand the knowledge base of clientele.

Mine Ventilation Specialist
SRK Clovis
SRK Africa