Underground Booster Fan Placement Strategies


Euler DeSouza, Queen's University

Booster fans play an important role in assisting main fans by boosting the air pressure of the ventilation air passing through it. The correct placement of underground booster fans in a mine is a critical decision since it not only influences the mine’s operational capacity in terms of costs and efficiency, but also affects safety and environmental conditions. There are many booster fan installations around mines that are inappropriate, in some cases resulting in system failure (fan stall) or in a major negative impact on mine production. Inadequate booster fan placement has resulted, in some cases, in extensive air leakage which has compromised the economics of the operation and, in other cases, in recirculation of contaminants which has seriously compromised safety. This paper provides guidelines for proper design and siting of booster fans underground, to not only achieve an economic ventilation system but to create safe work conditions and efficient atmospheric conditions. Procedures for the planning, installation, operation and maintenance of booster fans are also presented. A case study illustrating the design and siting of a major booster fan installation in a potash mine, supported by computational fluid dynamics analysis, is presented.