Tight control of underground mine ventilation system performance can be an ongoing challenge, but software, hardware and service options for drafting better ventilation plans keep expanding.

By Russell A. Carter, Contributing Editor

“Free as the air we breathe” is a notion that’s only valid on the surface of this planet. Underground, it’s a different story. Maintaining the airflow and quality needed to keep workers in deep mines safe and comfortable is a costly endeavor, accounting for anywhere from 30% to 40% or even more of a mine’s total energy bill. In fact, mine air is so expensive that Epiroc, a leading producer of underground mining equipment, currently features on one of its webpages a mock ad picturing a 400-ml aerosol can of “mine air” and inviting customers to “Take a deep breath…this is some of the most expensive air in the world.” The can is priced at $39.95.
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