As Australian mining enterprises dig deeper in more remote locations, it’s more important than ever that below ground operations are effectively cooled and ventilated.
With surface temperatures regularly topping 45 degrees, not achieving this leaves your staff vulnerable to serious health risks and your equipment prone to malfunction.
Aggreko’s rental solution
The inflexibility of traditional built-in cooling and ventilation systems means they’re no longer the best solution, so we’ve come up with an alternative. Aggreko’s short and long term rentals provide the answer to the most common concerns that mine safety engineers have:
1. Keeping staff safe
The ‘safe zone’ for working temperatures is below 30 degrees, and you need to trust your plant will achieve this all day, every day. With Aggreko not only can you easily scale your cooling and ventilation plant to match demand, you also benefit from our expertise to ensure your needs are always met.
There are significant cost-savings to be had with rentals, freeing up capital that can be invested elsewhere in your operation.
3. Maintenance and parts
With rental equipment, you’re not liable for expenses around maintenance and upgrades. As well as reducing overheads, our team will ensure any maintenance is completed quickly to eliminate downtime.
As mine operation is closely linked to market changes, you need to be able to scale up and down easily and efficiently. This isn’t possible with a built-in cooling and ventilation plant, but with rentals, you can quickly modify your setup at a fraction of the cost of buying a new permanent plant.
What is required for effective cooling and ventilation of underground mines?
There’s no federal legislation when it comes to occupational health and safety and mine cooling. Instead, each state has its own requirements for what must be done to safeguard employees.
Generally, this refers to eliminating the risks of heat related injuries such as heatstroke and heat exhaustion, and the use of ventilation to remove toxic gases which can build up due to mining activity.
To do this effectively, the following plant is usually required:
1. Cooling towers for mines
Evaporative cooling towers work by dissipating excess heat via water evaporation. Among the roles our rental towers can fulfill are:
- Supplementing cooling water flows.
- Providing additional cooling for planned system upgrades.
- Helping mines recover from in-built cooling tower failures in emergency situations.
With towers ranging from 2,500 kW to 10,000 kW, our rentals can be combined to provide multi-megawatts of cooling to your mine. Because energy efficiency in mines coming under increasing scrutiny in recent years, our solutions have been designed to minimise electricity consumption while still reducing drift rate to significantly less than what’s required by law.
2. Chillers for mines
When you have high volume mines in hot countries like Australia, it’s common that you’ll need additional or emergency cooling plants on top of your air conditioning units.
Here you have a choice between water-cooled and air-cooled chillers. While water-cooled options are usually more energy efficient and take up less space, air-cooled are generally quicker to mobilise.
Our experts can help you select which would be better suited to your operation in terms of type and size.
3. Air conditioners for mines
Heat and humidity are among the most serious health risks facing mining staff, and can also cause damage to your operations equipment. As such, standalone air conditioning units are essential for safety and productivity.
With cooling capacities ranging from 5 kilowatts (kW) to 200 kW, our portable air conditioners are perfectly suited for maintaining safe temperatures in a wide range of different settings.
As well as reducing air temperatures, our packaged air conditioning unit removes moisture, making underground working environments far more comfortable for staff on long shifts. All of our air conditioners can be provided with a complete range of ancillary equipment.
4. Heat exchangers for mines
Instead of cooling or heating a process or fluid through direct contact, sometimes the best method is to use a heat exchanger. This plant keeps fluids separate while allowing constant energy transfer to take place.
Our skid-mounted rentals are perfect for removing bottlenecks and deploying when built-in alternatives fail. In addition, they can be combined with chillers to cool a wide range of process fluids.
5. General mine ventilation
Ventilation is particularly important in mines where heavy machinery is in operation, as plant such as drills and long haul dumps have a huge impact on humidity and temperature. On top of this, extraction can release gases which are harmful to staff working below ground. For example, radon, which is often present in uranium mines, is poisonous if inhaled.
We can help you find the right ventilation system that will keep your personnel safe, and your equipment in optimal working condition.
For more information on our rental products, and how we can tailor them to your specific needs, get in touch with our team today