Underground bulk air cooling for a Gold Mine

Underground bulk air cooling for a gold mine, Australia

Situation

An intermediate mining company in Australia was experiencing wet bulb temperatures in excess of 30 degrees Celsius at a gold mine located in the Cobar mining district, approximately 600 kilometres northwest of Sydney.

The high temperatures in the mine meant that miners working underground were working for a reduced period of time, posing a significant health and safety risk and negatively affecting productivity of the mine.

With operations taking place 1.2 kilometres underground and air shafts at the mine measuring 11 kilometres in length, the mine’s operators needed a way of chilling the air in the fresh air decline and reducing the ambient wet bulb temperature.



Solution

Working closely with the customer, Aggreko provided a 1800 kWr (600 refrigeration tonne) cooling solution comprising of bulk air coolers connected to the mine’s fresh air decline along with chillers located in the return air risers. The package, which was delivered, installed and commissioned well within the time requirement, met or exceeded all QHSE requirements for mining operations at the necessary temperatures.

To make a significant cost saving for the customer, the temperature control package was installed underground, reducing the size of equipment needed to chill the air at the mine’s lower levels. The cooling package was designed, commissioned and operated by Aggreko technicians and was able to effectively lower the temperature of the mine to 27 degrees Celsius wet bulb and to keep the temperature regulated during the heat of the summer months.


Why was Aggreko chosen?

A major contributing factor was the alternate solution of the bulk air cooler option, which differentiated Aggreko from the competition.

Aggreko provided the engineering support structure to qualify performance and meet the clients expectations. Our turn-key service meant that the mining company was able to outsource all service and maintenance aspects of the project to Aggreko, which in turn allowed the company to focus on its core business.  



By utilising Aggreko, we were able to hire cooling capacity only when it was needed, rather than purchasing a cooling package which would be unnecessary during the winter months...

Michael Brown, Mine Maintenance and Project Superintendent, Peak Gold Mines Pty Ltd