The Importance of High-Pressure Compressed Air to Mining Operations

CIM Bulletin, 1966

A. R. Pasieka Chief Mine Research Engineer J.C. Wilson Senior Mine Research Engineer Sudbury 1Qperations, Falconbridge Nickel Mines .Ltd., Falconbridge, Ont.

Compressed air s till remains an essential source of power in underground hardrock mining. As a power medium it has a high convenience factor, although, in many cases, it is expensive to generate and maintain. Until new methods of breaking rock and/ or satisfactory alternatives to air-driven rock drills are developed, compressed air is indis pensable. It is essential to utilize this source of power to a maximum by keeping all pneumatic tools supplied with air in adequate quantity and at optimum pressure. In search of the optimum operating air pressure, controlled drilling tests were undertaken at dynamic pressures ranging from 90 to 140 psi. Test results show the effect of increasing air pressure on: the performance of various jackleg drills at varying pressures, the life cost of drill steels and TC bits, and drilling efficiency at varying pressures. From the foregoing, a criterion is proposed for selecting efficient rock drills, and, also, optimum air pressure at each mine can be determined for its particular conditions.
Keywords: Air, Air Pressures, compressed air, Group A, norite, psi, Cost, Costs, Drill, Drilling, Drills, Mine, Mines, Pressure