The Asia Miner

APR-JUN 2019

The ASIA Miner - Reporting Important Issues to Mining Companies in the Asia Pacific Region

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the asia miner • volume 16 • issue 2 67 PRODUCT NEWS In its most significant move since entering the internaঞonal mining supply market, Australian company Minetek has revealed its patented secondary mine venঞlaঞon system which categorically offers power savings and control not yet seen in the underground mining industry. Minetek's high output Axial Fan system uses a patented Mine Air Control (MAC) system to maximise return from its Performance on Demand (POD) units which automaঞcally sense how much air is needed in any one heading at any ঞme. Whilst these secondary underground fans strategically opঞmise air flow, they eliminate much of the power tradiঞonally wasted in such applicaঞons while performing across a very large operaঞng range and meeঞng broad regulatory compliance parameters. According to Minetek's Engineering Manager, Remy Bourcier, the company's High Output Axial Fan has been designed completely with the underground mining industry in mind and the MAC control system brings the mine's fan system together with complete automaঞon. "Unঞl now, the market has used high maintenance Variable Speed Drives to provide some level of control to the air flow in secondary venঞlaঞon systems," said Mr Bourcier. "But our patented system works on high pressure, steel fabricated impeller technology allowing operaঞon at temperatures and condiঞons previously thought impracঞcal for an axial fan – and we achieve this in seriously harsh environments. "It's in the area of energy costs where the real savings are found, and this is very tangible too." Various studies point out that between 42 per cent to 49 per cent of a mine's energy costs are consumed by mine venঞlaঞon, with the figure of about 27 per cent aributed to the cost of secondary venঞlaঞon alone. "Typically, a fan consuming 190kW with an electricity price of 15c per kW will cost AU$249,660 per year to run and may not even be properly compliant. Considering the average mine uses about 15 secondary fans, the total annual consumpঞon cost can amount to almost AU$4 million," conঞnued Mr Bourcier. Key to its high cost efficiency is the POD system – an electronic controller on the fan which allows the fan to be regulated from very low flow requirements right through to more than double the duty point of a tradiঞonal vane axial fan. With the use of the MAC System Secondary mine ventilation providing positive cashflow and compliance Minetek's secondary mine venlaon units RFID trackers, it constantly remains aware what items of underground mining equipment are moving into the heading, so the POD controller will automaঞcally adjust the air volumetric flow required to provide sufficient air volume to disperse the gases and venঞlate the area. It will sense what specific truck has entered the tunnel and it will be aware of the size of its engine and the number of people it will be carrying, so it will automaঞcally adjust to meet the demand for sufficient venঞlaঞon for the people in accordance with industry regulaঞon. Considering temperatures at the rock face can be up to 50°C, it is criঞcal to ensure adequate venঞlaঞon is providing fresh and cool air reliably. Being a modular soluঞon, mine managers can add or take away things such as silencers or adapters, booster fans or even boost the system further through control opঞons. In normal underground mining condiঞons, the Minetek systems will operate significantly quieter. Providing a noise level 8dB less than a twin 1400 twin 110kW for the same volume flow. Minetek Sales Manager, Mr Richard McAlpin, says the big benefit to the global mining sector is that they are no longer hamstrung by not being able to control the volume of air within the headings, and that mine owners are able to save substanঞal money through this control. "What we have designed is not just a top performer, but something that is also very durable without loss of performance," said Mr McAlpin. "The fact that our POD system can be controlled accurately, means that the re-entry ঞmes to the mines are shortened significantly, meaning downঞme is significantly reduced. "We have spent several years developing this soluঞon and are proving already that underground mining sectors around the world are finding it hard to ignore the cost savings it can deliver".

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