Preventing and managing fires at deep levels in ultra-deep level Gold Mines


Morne Beukes, BBE

In the South African Mining Industry most of the goldmining is done between 1500 and 4500 meters below surface where reef is accessed initially through vertical shaft system then via a network of tunnel and mined in either a longwall, sequential grid or scattered mining configuration. Due to the complexity of the of the ventilation networks used to ventilate these mines as well as the potential disastrous consequences associate with underground fires it is of utmost importance that mines are managed in such a way that underground fires are prevented and if they occur that the fires are managed in such a way to firstly prevent the loss of live and secondly protect the infrastructure and viability of the mine. The aim of the presentation will be to: 1. Show current South African mining legislation with regards to underground fire prevention and control 2. Look at these fires from a risk management perspective by means of a bowtie assessment 3. List and discuss the major Threats and Consequences as determined by the bowtie assessment 4. Discuss the various prevention and consequence controls for deep level underground fires and, 5. How to effectively run an emergency control room From the above it will be shown a practical way of designing, implementing and managing an underground fire management system. Lastly the presentation will also look an identifying new technology and ways of thinking and how this can be used to combat underground fires.