Environmental monitoring for safety in underground coal mining

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 72, No. 801, 1979

R.N. CHAKRAVORTY and R.L WOOLF, Western Office, Mining Research Laboratories, CANMET, Dept. of Energy, Mines & Resources, Calgary, Alberta

Environmental monitoring plays a key role in coal mine safety. In recent years, significant advances have been made in the development of systems suitable for monitoring air in underground coal mines. Because of intensive mining and large capital outlay, the need for higher productivity consistent with safety is well recognized and it appears that environmental monitoring may help achieve this objective.This paper reviews the state-of-the-art in the monitoring technology with particular reference to hazardous gas detection in underground coal mines. The preliminary results obtained from ongoing studies, with regard to continuous monitoring of methane and carbon monoxide in mine air in some of the operations in Western Canada, are discussed. The inadequacies of the methods using spot samples are examined and the need to supplement the present practice with continuous monitoring systems is emphasized.
Keywords: Coal mining, Safety, Environmental control, Mechanometry, Carbon monoxide, Spontaneous combustion, Underground mining, Gas detection, Kaiser Resources Ltd., Sparwood Mine