Journal of the Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
On-line version ISSN 2411-9717
SAHAY, N; SINHA, A; HARIBABU, B and ROYCHOUDHARY, P.K. Dealing with open fire in an underground coal mine by ventilation control techniques. J. S. Afr. Inst. Min. Metall. [online]. 2014, vol.114, n.6, pp. 455-455. ISSN 2411-9717.
Open fire in coal mines is one of the most serious threats to miners, as well as to the mine. Open fire can often be effectively dealt with by prompt local action, otherwise it very quickly becomes uncontrollable. In one incident, none of the available open fire control technologies, viz., water deluge and sprinkler systems, high-expansion foam, high-pressure high-stability nitrogen foam, water misting, and ventilation and pressure control techniques, were effective for saving the mine without sealing from surface, since the fuel-rich environment prohibited underground access due to the methane explosion hazard. The authors have developed a methodology for dealing with advanced-stage open fires underground by the application of a modified ventilation control technique. It is based primarily on a better understanding of the behaviour of open fires, proper diagnosis of the problem, application of judicious ventilation control techniques, and selection of suitable fire indices for assessing the status of an open fire. This methodology was used to successfully control an open fire in Surakachhar 3 and 4 incline mine Surakachhar, central India. The fire area was sealed underground and production subsequently resumed in record time. The paper discusses the behaviour of open fires, particulars of the mine, diagnosis of the problem, experimentation methods, and the results obtained.
Keywords : spontaneous combustion; high-pressure hig-stability nitrogen foam; water misting technology, ventilation and pressure control techniques; oxygen-rich and fuel-rich fire.