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Evaluation of various alternatives to optimize the ventilation network in a trona mine

Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration , 2014, Vol. 336, No. 1, pp. 500-508

Habibi, A.; Kramer, R.; Gillies, S.


A ventilation survey was conducted in an underground longwall trona mine. The mine is relatively shallow and categorized as a gassy mine. The ventilation system includes three intake and six exhaust shafts, and three surface axial fans ventilate the mine in a blowing configuration. Airflow quantity, pressure losses and air psychrometric characteristics were quantified, and the influence of moving cages and skips in the shaft examined.

  The benefits of utilizing high-accuracy digital pressure transducers and advanced psychrometers were seen when undertaking a “leapfrogging” survey to gather data needed to build a computer ventilation model. Two underground booster fans with VFDs are idle but available at the mine. The ventilation model was used to determine the optimal booster fan locations to decrease operating cost by reducing the load carried by the main fans. A leakage study was conducted to evaluate the effects on the system of additional pressure from a booster fan. The study finally prepares a future ventilation model for the next 15 years of mine operation and investigates the effect of proposed scenarios.