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TitleOptimising mine ventilation through the use of life-cycle production models
AuthorHardcastle, S; Kocsis, C; Bissiri, Y; Baiden, G
SourceAustralasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy Publication Series 2005 p. 373-381
Released2005 01 01
CANMET-MMSL and Penguin Automation Systems Inc have been exploring how process simulation and ventilation modelling software, when combined, can be used to optimise hard-rock/metal mine ventilation systems, In combination, it is anticipated that this methodology will facilitate the exploration of mine design options that affect ventilation requirements and ultimately cost. Such integrated mine design could limit, and possibly reverse, the drivers that under current practices would generally dictate increased ventilation, power consumption, cost and greenhouse gas emissions. It is believed that the mining industry needs such process models to develop better business cases. For example, the implementation of optimised ventilation systems will undoubtedly require significant investment and mines are often reluctant to try such conservational measures unless they can be proven cost-effective. In general, Canadian hard-rock mines know their ventilation systems are providing too much air and consuming power unnecessarily. This is because their systems are designed to provide maximum production flexibility, based upon peak demand, which may be at some future time, and operated continuously at that level regardless of actual need. Simplistic analyses have shown electrical energy savings can range from 30 per cent through to 90 per cent (Hardcastle, Gangal and Leung, 1998). These savings depend upon such factors as the intensity and continuity of the production schedule as opposed to non-productive time. Where these savings occur is also important, if limited to either the primary or auxiliary ventilation systems, they could be negligible in a mine's total energy consumption. The problem these mines face is determining what level of ventilation is required in real-time and then the relative benefits. Such parameters as varying electricity costs, heating fuel options, different design criteria and their complex inter-relationship can effect the selection of an optimal system, depending on whether energy, environment or cost is the prime driver. The use of process simulators in underground mining is in its infancy; to date they have been used to show the benefits over the life of a mine under different mining methods, such as a comparison of tele-remote mining from surface against conventional manned operation (Baiden, 2000). This ongoing development advances the use of such simulators into a new and potentially important area, namely modelling the life-cycle ventilation requirements of a mine. This paper shows how such a life-cycle analysis as opposed to peak demand can provide the basis for optimising the design of ventilation systems and their control.

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