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UBC Theses and Dissertations

New ventilation design criteria for underground metal mines based upon the "life-cycle" airflow demand schedule Kocsis, Karoly-Charles P.

Abstract

Presently, mine ventilation systems are designed more towards the “worst-case-scenario” with respect to airflow demand, which usually occurs well in the future of a mine’s operating life. Consequently, within the early stages of operation, the mines’ intake air volume could be well in excess of their “true” ventilation needs. Such ventilation systems are inefficient and this design approach needs to change if Canadian mines are to remain competitive while attempting to reduce their carbon footprints. This thesis introduces a new method that can be used to evaluate the efficiency of large and complex underground ventilation systems. This new evaluation method is based upon the magnitude of a mine’s potential “ventilation redundancy” that can be used to gauge the efficiency of its ventilation system. Two conventionally analyzed case studies presented in this thesis highlight the complexity and difficulty in determining the ventilation redundancy in large and deep metal mines. Challenges include gaining adequate data to assess the dynamic nature of the production activities that continually redefine where ventilation is required. To address this issue, this thesis introduces a novel method, where a multi-level mining block’s activity based intake air volume is determined through discrete-event mining process simulation using AutoModTM. In accordance with the number of active mining blocks that will be required to achieve future production requirements, the mine’s “traditional” and “activity based” life-cycle airflow demand schedule is subsequently determined. Furthermore, based upon the life-cycle airflow demand schedule the mine’s primary and auxiliary ventilation systems are solved through ventilation simulation. The output data generated through ventilation simulation was then used to determine the economic and environmental benefits of an “activity based” ventilation system versus a “traditional” ventilation system. This new ventilation design concept, which is based upon the mine’s life-cycle airflow demand schedule determined through discrete-event process simulation can fundamentally change the way underground ventilation systems are presently designed and operated. This can be extremely important for the reason that besides providing adequate airflow to the production workings, this new design approach would assist the mines to reduce their energy consumption and consequently their GHG emissions.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

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