Ventilation and refrigeration practices together with environmental thermal problems at the Mindola Mine, Zambia

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

Dr. MEHMET GUNEY, Associate Professor, University of Tripoli, Libya, ALAN R. BELL, Superintendent of Technical Services Rio Algom Limited, Elliot Lake, Ontario

This article is based on a detailed heat investigation conducted at the Rokana Division of Nchanga Consolidated Copper Mines Limited while both authors were employed in Zambia. Mindola Mine is one of the three underground mines comprising the Rokana Division on the Copperbelt of Zambia, producing about 270,000 tons of ore per month at 1.9% Cu and 0.14% Co.The total volume of air being circulated by means of five primary fan installations slightly exceeds 1,000 m3/sec at standard density. Sectional bulk cooling is practised where air cooling coils are installed at primary splits some considerable distance from the sloping operations. Total capacity of the refrigeration complex is 10,500 kw (3,500 R. tons), of which about 7,000 kw is available as effective cooling power after losses, but the heat removed from the coils is about 3,500 kw with 61% over-all plant performance.An extension program is planned for a further five production levels with the re-deepening of a sub-vertical shaft. Thermal heat will become a major problem at increased depth associated with higher rock temperature, higher thermal conductivity of the rock groups encountered and fissure water flowing into working areas through the strata with increased rock temperature. This paper describes the ventilation and refrigeration practices in Mindola Mine, with special reference to future thermal heat problems. These are discussed with a view to mining at depth.
Keywords: Underground mining, Ventilation, Refrigeration, Environmental control, Mindola Mine, Zambia, Fans, Cooling, Heating, Thermal balance