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Heat, Humidity, and

Felipe Calizaya and John Marks


In underground mines, heat and humidity can create adverse

environmental conditions that can affect worker performance
negatively. Such conditions can even limit the depth to which
mining can be extended. Although the human body has a selfregulating mechanism against variations of external heat,
under extreme conditions this mechanism can break down,
resulting in occupational illnesses such as heat exhaustion and
heat stroke.
In the United States, with a few exceptions, heat becomes
an environmental problem in mines with workings at depths
greater than 1,000 m (3,280 ft). In these mines, ventilation is
not sufficient to control the heat loads and must be supplemented by some form of air conditioning. The Anaconda mine
in Butte, Montana, and the Magma mine in Superior, Arizona,
were the first to utilize air conditioning systems. Both mines
are at least 1.5 km (0.9 mi) deep. Other U.S. mines that require
air conditioning include the San Manuel mine in San Manuel,
Arizona, which is 1,000 m (3,280 ft) deep; the Homestake
mine in Lead, South Dakota, which is 2.4 km (1.5mi) deep;
the Sunshine mine in Kellogg, Idaho, which is 1.6 km (1 mi)
deep, and more recently, the Meikle mine near Elko, Nevada,
where heat became a environmental problem at depths ranging from 300 to 600 m (1,000 to 2,000 ft).
In Canada, heat is also an environmental concern in most
deep underground mines. These include Incos Creighton
mine, which is 2,400 m (7,870 ft) below the surface;
Falconbridges Kidd Creek mine, which is 3,000 m (9,845 ft)
deep; and Agnico-Eagles Laronde mine, which is 2,000 m
(6,560 ft) deep. Autocompression is the main source of heat in
these mines. The ventilation systems in these mines are now
being upgraded to include refrigeration plants.
This chapter presents summaries of the following topics:

Mine cooling
The principles used to estimate airflow and refrigeration
Sample problems are used to illustrate the various steps
involved in determining ventilation requirements and the
critical depths. The solution to each problem is found using
CLIMSIM, a commercial mine climate simulation program
from MVS Engineering, Clovis, California. This software is
used to predict the properties of the air at various simulated
workings, to evaluate the resulting parameters against the target values, and to determine a feasible solution to the problem.
Several books and articles have been written on ventilation and air conditioning. The references at the end of this
chapter provide a selected list of publications on this topic.
The ventilation engineer is strongly encouraged to study these
Definitions specific to the control of heat and humidity in
underground mines are as follows.

Psychrometric properties of the air

Human heat stress indices
Instrumentation for determining how thermal loads are
Heat sources

Autocompression: This is the term given to a process by

which a column of air moving downward is compressed
and experiences a temperature increase. Autocompression
is due to the additional pressure of air stacked on itself.
In a dry shaft, autocompression raises the air temperature
by about 1C (1.8F) for every 100-m (328-ft) increase
in depth.
Heat: Heat is a form of energy and, as such, it can never
be destroyed. In mines, heat is produced by chemical
reactions such as the oxidation of ores (slow) or the burning of fuels (fast), by friction (pulleys under a stationary
belt), and in many other ways.
Heat stress: Heat stress is a qualitative assessment of the
work environment based on temperature, relative humidity, air velocity, personal clothing, and radiant energy
(environmental factor). Several heat stress indices have
been proposed. The most common ones are effective temperature, cooling power, and wet bulb temperature.

Felipe Calizaya, Associate Professor, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
John Marks, Consultant, Lead, South Dakota, USA



Source: Copyright 2009 ASHRAE Pschrometric Chart Sea Level SI,

Figure 15.5-1 ASHRAE psychrometric chart

SME Mining Engineering Handbook

Heat, Humidity, and AirConditioning

Heat strain: The physiological response to heat stress

(people factor) is called heat strain. Effects include dehydration, increased heart rate, fatigue, cramps, and heat
stroke. Humans have different tolerance levels for heat.
They can cope easier with heat than cold.
Sensible heat: This is the heat that when added to or
removed from a substance changes its temperature without changing its state.
Latent (hidden) heat: This is the heat added to or
removed from a substance that results in a change in state
but does not increase or decrease its temperature.
Enthalpy: Enthalpy is the total heat content of the air
vapor mixture per unit weight (sum of latent and sensible
Temperature: Temperature is the degree of hotness or
coolness of a substance (measurement of a state).
Critical depth: This is the depth in a mine at which the
wet bulb temperature of the intake air exceeds the allowable wet bulb temperature, mainly due to autocompression. Beyond this depth, the mine will require some form
of air conditioning.


Psychrometry is the science of evaluating the thermal state of

moist air. The psychrometric properties of interest to a ventilation engineer are dry bulb temperature (td), wet bulb temperature (tw), dew-point temperature (tdp), barometric pressure
(Pb), specific volume (V), humidity ratio (W), and enthalpy
(h). Because air is considered a mixture of dry air and water
vapor, any three of these are necessary to be known, and the
remaining properties can be calculated (McPherson 1993;
Hartman et al. 1997). The easiest three to measure are td, tw,
and Pb. The determination of all of these properties is a prerequisite to solving air conditioning problems.
Three tools are available for estimating these properties:
psychrometric tables, charts, and the fundamental equations.
There are several computer programs available that make use
of these tools and more advanced numerical solution methods. When tables are not available, the basic properties can be
calculated using Equations15.51 through15.58 (McQuiston
and Parker 1994).
Specific Volume, V:


Ps = saturated vapor pressure, kPa

td = dry bulb temperature, C

tw = wet bulb temperature, C
Relative Humidity, RH:
RH =

100 %



Pv = water vapor pressure, kPa

Ps = saturated vapor pressure, kPa
Absolute Humidity (or the Humidity Ratio), W:
W = 0.622


^ Ps Pv h




R = a gas constant, which is 287 J/(kg K)

Td =the absolute temperature, which is equal to
273 + td, K

Pb = barometric pressure, Pa
Saturated Vapor Pressure, Ps:
17.27t d

t d + 237.3

F kPa


where td is the dry bulb temperature, C.

It is evident in Equation 15.52 that the saturation vapor
pressure is a function of temperature only.
Actual Vapor Pressure, Pv:
Pv = Ps 0.000644Pb (t d t w) kPa




Pv = water vapor pressure, kPa

Pb = barometric pressure, kPa
Air Density, d:
This equation gives kilograms of moisture per kilogram
of dry air.
d = 1 (1 + W) kg/m3

V = specific volume, m3/kg

W = absolute humidity, kg moisture/kg dry air


Enthalpy, h:
h = 1.005t d + W (2501.3 + 1.86t d ) kJ/kg



td = dry bulb temperature, C
W = absolute humidity, kg moisture/kg dry air
The 2007 ASHRAE Handbook gives the following values for
standard air: sea level temperature = 15C and barometric
pressure = 101.325 kPa. The barometric pressure, Pb, depends
mainly on elevation and can be approximated as follows:
Pb = 101.325 (1 0.0000225577Z )

RTd 3
Pb m /kg

Ps = 0.6105 exp <





where Z is the elevation in meters.

Example 1. Compute the humidity ratio and enthalpy
of saturated air at 20C and at a barometric pressure of
Solution. Perform the following calculations:
From Equation15.52, for Pv = Ps at 20C, Pv = 2.338kPa.
Using Equation15.55, W = 0.0147 kg/kg.
Using Equation 15.57, for W = 0.0147 kg/kg and t =
20C, h = 57.56 kJ/kg.
Quick estimates of all the psychrometric properties of air can
be determined from a psychrometric chart. Each chart applies
to air at a given barometric pressure. Figure15.51 shows a
psychrometric chart for Pb = 101.325 kPa. This is one of a
series of charts produced by the American Society of Heating,
Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) for
a range of pressures. Although all psychrometric properties
can now be calculated using programs such as HotWork from


SME Mining Engineering Handbook

MVA (Mine Ventilation Australia, Sandgate, Queensland,

Australia) (Brake 2008), charts provide a visual representation
of process lines that represent changes in psychrometric conditions of the airstream. Figure15.52 shows how the various
processes can be followed from an initial state point (pointA).
Horizontal lines emerging from this point indicate changes
in sensible heat, that is, cooling if the process proceeds from
right to left or heating if the process proceeds from left to
right. A vertical line indicates changes in latent heathumidification if the process proceeds upward and dehumidification
if the process proceeds downward. Combination processes run
Example 2. A flow rate of 120 m3/s of air at td = 30C, tw
= 20C, and Pb = 101.325 kPa is to be chilled to td = tw = 10C
at the same pressure. First, calculate the following:

The mass flow rate of dry air through the process

The kW(R) required to chill the air
The liquid water condensed in the air
The relative humidity of the air entering the process

Solution. For td = 30C, tw = 20C, and the specific volume of air is 0.873 m3/kg, calculate as follows:
Mass flow rate: m = Q/v = 137.3 kg/s, where Q is the airflow rate in cubic meters per second
Removed heat: q = m(h) = 137.3 # (57.2 29.4)
= 3,817 kW(R)
Condensed water: ql = m(W) = 137.3 (10.6 7.7)
= 398.20 g/s (0.40 kg/s)
Relative humidity: RH = 40% (from ASHRAE chart)


These indices refer to the assessment of thermal conditions to

which workers can be exposed repeatedly without developing any adverse health effect. They are expressed in terms of
quantitative figures (maximum allowable limits) used by ventilation specialists for designing heat control systems. Since
the introduction of the first heat stress index in 1923, more
than 90 indices have been developed. Based on their application, these can be divided into two groups: empirical and
rational. Empirical indices are expressed in terms of an external or environmental factor, such as the wet bulb temperature
and the effective temperature. Rational indices are based on
the responses of the workers to thermal stress, such as sweat
rates and core temperature increases (internal factors). Only
the empirical indices are applicable to underground mining
In most mining countries, these indices are regulated by
code (Hartman et al. 1997; Hardcastle 2006). In U.S. mines,
heat stress is not regulated. Management must set and enforce
the applicable limits. The following are the most commonly
used indices (Van der Walt et al. 1996; Del Castillo and
Dawborn 2002; Mutama 2005; ACGIH 2008):
Wet bulb temperature: tw 27C (81.6F)
Wet bulb globe temperature: WBGT 27C for continuous work at moderate rate
Effective temperature range: ET = 28C (81.6F) for
reduced work load and a maximum of 32C (89.6F)
when work must be terminated
Air-cooling power (ACP) for hard workload: 175 W/m2
ACP 275 W/m2
Air velocity: v 0.50 m/s



Dry Bulb Temperature

Wet Bulb Temperature
Specific Volume
Specific Humidity
Relative Humidity
State Point



on Curv



Figure 15.5-2 Psychrometric processes and state point

The wet bulb temperature is the simplest index that can be

used by ventilation engineers to assess the work environment.
It measures the evaporation of water from a wet bulb thermometer. It can be determined by a sling psychrometer after
being whirled or vented at the rate of at least 3 m/s (10 fps).
The wet bulb globe temperature for an indoor environment is measured by a black globe thermometer or calculated
using Equation15.59 (ACGIH 2008):
WBGT = 0.7NWB + 0.3GT



WBGT = wet bulb globe temperature, C

NWB =natural (or unvented) wet bulb temperature, C

GT = globe temperature, C
Effective temperature is an index of relative comfort
determined from charts that require the knowledge of three
parameters: dry bulb temperature, wet bulb temperature, and
air velocity. It is still used in U.S. mines with negligible radiant heat.
Air cooling power is a rational heat stress index based
on heat balance between workers and environment. For hard
work rates, this index ranges from 175 to 275 W/m2, depending on air velocity, wet bulb temperature, and type of clothing.
For safety, vent systems should be designed for cooling power
rates higher than the expected work rate.
Air velocity, as measured by an anemometer, is not an
index, but it can be used in combination with the wet bulb
temperature. A common lower limit for airways where personnel work is 0.50 m/s (1.6 fps).
The following are sample heat stress indices used in some
hot mines:
Homestake gold mine, South Dakota
Wet bulb temperature for acclimatized workers is
26.7C tw 29.4C (the lower limit indicates 100%
worker efficiency, and the upper limit indicates that a
corrective action is needed)
The air velocity range is 0.76 v 3 m/s
The wet bulb globe temperature, WBGT, is 32.2C

Heat, Humidity, and AirConditioning

Figure 15.5-3 Digital barometer

Meikle gold mine, Nevada

The wet bulb temperature, tw, for acclimatized workers is 27.8C
The effective temperature, ET, is 26.6C
Mindola copper mine, Zambia
The wet bulb temperature is 28C tw 30C (depending on the air velocity, tw is 28C for v = 0.77 m/s and
30C for 1.99 m/s)
Air-cooling power is ACP 300 W/m2
If two heat stress indices of a work environment exceed the
design limits, the mine can take one or more of the following
Install ventilation and/or air conditioning systems (active
engineering controls)
Isolate the heat sources via insulation or blocking off heat
sources (passive engineering controls)
Enact administrative measures
Ventilation and/or air conditioning are generally the preferred control methods for long-term work areas, but they can
be very expensive. Isolating heat sources can be done in certain cases, but if active or passive controls are uneconomical,
the mine can consider administrative controls. These include
Increasing workers heat tolerance by heat acclimatization,
Assigning workers to hot working areas selectively (on
the average about 5% of relatively young workers are
heat intolerant),
Adjusting the workrest regime by permitting workers
to take short breaks to recover sweat rate and body core
temperature, and
Rotating personnel on hot jobs and providing workers
with readily accessible cold areas, cold drinking water,
and salt tablets. A half-teaspoon of salt per 2 L of water
is sufficient.
In every case, the objective is to prevent the body core temperature from rising above 38C (100F).


The following instruments are used to determine the heat load

in underground mines: a barometer, a psychrometer, and thermocouples. Although most of these units are now digital, analog devices are still being used under harsh conditions and as
primary standards for calibration.
Barometric Pressure
Barometers are used to measure the absolute pressure of mine
air. This pressure is mainly a function of elevation of the working areas. Under standard conditions, the barometric pressure


Figure 15.5-4 Portable psychrometer

varies by about 500 Pa (0.07 psi) over a 24-hour period. Under

special conditions, such as during major storms or cyclones,
the pressure difference can be as high as 2,000 Pa (0.3 psi).
Aneroid barometers, such as those manufactured by American
Paulin System, Cottonwood, Arizona, are still being used for
pressure measurement in underground mines. Because of their
ruggedness and ease of operation, they are preferred by ventilation engineers. With the advent of electronic technology,
digital barometers are gaining a wider acceptance in ventilation surveys, especially in hard-rock mining. They are based on
pressure transducers that are highly sensitive to variations of
pressure load. Figure15.53 shows a capacitor-type barometer
in a rugged enclosure. The instrument basically consists of two
closely spaced metal surfaces, one of which is a diaphragm
that flexes slightly under applied pressure and alters the gap
between them (variable capacitor). This variation in distance is
picked up electronically by the sensor. The instrument is highly
accurate in the range of 60 to 110 kPa (8.7 to 16.0psi).
Air Temperature Measurement
The dry and wet bulb temperatures of the air are measured
by a psychrometer. This instrument consists of two identical
thermometers: one to measure the true air temperature (dry
bulb) and the other, covered by a water-saturated wick, to
measure the evaporative cooling effect (wet bulb). The drier
the surrounding air, the more rapidly the water will evaporate.
This causes the wet bulb to depress in temperature until a balance takes places between the cooling effect and the heat gain
from the ambient air. A requirement to measure the wet bulb
temperature is the air velocity across the bulb. This velocity
must be at least 3 m/s (10 fps). Without this velocity, one will
always tend to measure a higher humidity level than actual.
Figure 15.54 shows a portable psychrometer. This
instrument consists of two thermometers (dry and wet) and
a small fan. Before any measurement, the wick on the wet
bulb must be saturated with distilled water. While the fan is
operating, the wet bulb temperature will begin to depress until
it stabilizes at its lowest point. The procedure may take from
1 to 2 minutes depending on the dryness of the air. For better accuracy, the wet bulb temperature should be read first.
The instrument can be used for temperature measurements in
the 7 to 43C (19 to 109F) range. A humidity indicator
(Figure15.55) is another device used in underground mines.
The instrument is based on a thin polymer film sensor that
changes its capacitance as it absorbs water molecules. When
equipped with a Vaisala HMP41 probe, it can be used to measure relative humidity, absolute humidity, dry and wet bulb
temperatures, and dew-point temperature. The operating range
of the instrument is from 20 to 60C (4 to 140F).


SME Mining Engineering Handbook

Figure 15.5-5 Digital humidity indicator

Figure 15.5-6 Thermocouple and digital thermometer

Rock Temperature Measurement

The rock temperature in a mine is usually measured by means
of resistance thermometers and thermocouples. A resistance
thermometer is constructed of a precious-metal conductor,
such as platinum or silver, which exhibits increased resistance
when heated. A thermocouple consists of insulated wire pairs
with a junction point (bead) at one end and a male connector
at the other. For underground applications, J-, K-, and T-type
thermocouples are used. When a thermocouple is connected
to a temperature indicator (reader), an analog or digital signal is obtained, making it suitable for temperature logging.
Rock temperatures can be measured from boreholes that are
drilled from underground openings or from the surface. In
either case, it is good practice to allow the rock temperature
to stabilize and eliminate the local heating and cooling effects.
This is usually achieved 8 hours after the drilling is completed
(Duckworth 1999). A plot of temperature verses depth is often
used to determine the temperature distribution in the borehole
and the virgin rock temperature (VRT). Figure15.56 shows
thermocouple wires and a digital thermometer. The fine wire
thermocouples enable accurate temperature measurements
without disturbing the base temperature of the body in which
the installation is made. They are available in wire sizes ranging from 0.025 to 0.81 mm in diameter. The K-type thermocouple has an operating range of from 200 to 1,372C (328
to 2,502F). The HH506R data logger (Omega Engineering) is
a two-channel temperature-measuring device used with seven
types of thermocouples. When recording mode is used, the
instrument allows the user to store the maximum, minimum,
and average temperatures during a 24-hour period.

autocompression, and mining equipment account for about

80% of the total heat released. In shallow mines with depths
of less than 1,000 m (3,280 ft), ventilation alone may be sufficient to remove the heat from the working sections. However,
in deep mines with depths greater than 1,000 m (3,280 ft),
the autocompression effect causes the wet bulb temperature to
exceed the critical temperature of 28C (82F), and refrigeration becomes a necessity. The design of a refrigeration system
requires a thorough evaluation of all sources of heat.


Thermal conductivity is a measure of how well (or

poorly) heat is conducted (or resisted) in a certain substance.
It represents the temperature profile along each meter of drift
length for a given heat flow. However, it does not measure
how quickly the heat spreads along the drift. Thermal diffusivity is a measure of how quickly the heat spreads through
the substance. Table15.51 shows the thermal properties for

Heat is emitted from various sources in underground mines,

including autocompression, heat from wall rock, mining
equipment, groundwater, oxidation of minerals, and metabolic heat. A study conducted on heat flow in seven underground mines in the United States has shown that wall rock,

Heat from Rock

The heat flow from the rock depends on a number of variables,
including the virgin rock temperature, rock type, size, shape,
and depth of the openings and the presence of water on the
rock surface. It also varies with the age of the opening. New
and well-ventilated airways rapidly give off heat. After the
airway has aged, the rock wall temperature will typically stabilize to within 2C (3.6F) of the dry bulb temperature. For
rough estimates, Equation 15.5-10 can be used to approximate
the radial heat flow, q, from the rock.
q = 2L

t 1 t 2 W
ln (r1 r2)



k = thermal conductivity, W/m C

L = airway length, m

t1 = rock wall temperature, C

t2 = virgin rock temperature, C

r1 = airway radius, m

r2 = distance into the rock, m

Heat, Humidity, and AirConditioning

Table 15.5-1 Thermal properties of common substance


W/m C

m2/s 106



Dry air







Specific Heat,
kJ/kg C
















Pyritic shale
























Source: Adapted from ASHRAE 2007 and Brake 2008.

a number of substances determined from laboratory or field

tests (ASHRAE 2007; Brake 2008). Temperatures t1 and t2
are rock temperatures measured at radii r1 and r2, respectively.
For rectangular openings, r1 is approximated by the hydraulic
radius (= 2 # area/perimeter). Radius r2 is the distance into
the rock from the center of the opening. The virgin rock temperature t2 is determined from a borehole that is at least 4 m
(13 ft) long and drilled perpendicular to the longitudinal axis
of the opening.
A pair of ti and ri measurements, together with the length
of the opening and the thermal conductivity of the rock, is sufficient to determine the heat flow into an opening. However,
to improve the accuracy of the estimates, it is recommended to
take a series of measurements from various boreholes drilled
radially from the airway.
Example 3. A 400-m-long drift that is 4 m in diameter (r1
= 2m) is driven in quartzite rock (Figure15.57). The VRT at
r2 = 10 m is determined to be 50C. If the rock wall temperature is 30C, how much heat will flow into the section?
Solution. For k = 5.5 W/m C, (t1 t2) = 0C and ln(r1/
r2) = 1.61, Equation15.510 yields q = 172 kW. For a given
q (measured directly), this approach can be used to determine
the thermal conductivity of the rock.
Autocompression is the process in which a column of air is
compressed and experiences a temperature increase as it
enters a downcast shaft. In dry shafts, the compression occurs
adiabatically. On average, the dry bulb temperature increases
by 1C (1.8F) per 100 m (328 ft). This occurs even when
there is no external heat added into the shaft or external work
done on the air. The wet bulb temperature also increases with
depth, but at a lower rate. Typically, this temperature increases
by about 0.6C (1.1F) per 100 m (328 ft) when the surface
wet bulb temperature is 6C (43F) and 0.4C (0.7F) per
100 m (328 ft) when the surface wet bulb is 25C (77F)
(Brake 2008). In an upcast shaft, the air decompresses as it
travels up the shaft, resulting in a drop of both dry and wet
bulb temperatures, a reduction in air density, and a decrease of


q = Heat Flow, W
t = Temperature, C

L = Airway Length, m
r = Radius, m

Figure 15.5-7 Heat flow from rock

atmospheric pressure. In locations with high humidity levels

in the upcasting shafts and drifts, the decrease in temperature
associated with decreasing pressure may result in the generation of fog as the conditions of saturation occur.
For a downcast shaft, the heat flow, q, can be estimated by
q = Q 1 (h 2 h 1) kW



Q = airflow rate, m3/s

h1 = enthalpy at state point 1 (shaft collar)

h2 = enthalpy at state point 2 (shaft bottom)
Example 4. What is the heat load from autocompression
when 100 m3/s of dry air of td1 = 30C and tw1 = 20C at sea
level drops down a 1,500-m shaft?
Solution. Estimate the wet bulb temperature at the bottom of the 1,500-m shaft (tw2 = 26.8C by interpolation);
determine the specific volume of the air at shaft collar (V =
0.873 m3/kg); and determine the enthalpies for tw1 and tw2 (h1
= 57.2 kJ/kg and h2 = 83.7 kJ/kg from Figure15.51). Then,
using Equation15.511, q = 3,025 kW.
Electrical Equipment
Electrical motors, transformers, gearboxes, and other controls
are not 100% efficient. Some of these inefficiencies are manifested in the form of sensible heat. All energy used in electrical equipment is transformed into two effects: work against
gravity and heat. Conveyor belts, hoists, and pumps are examples where the electrical energy is transformed into potential
energy and frictional heat. Other devices, such as rock breakers, fans, electric drills, and lights used on a horizontal plane,
are examples where electrical energy is converted entirely into
heat. Using Equation15.512, for any given machine, the heat
load, q, can be calculated as the difference in effective power
and work done against gravity as follows:
q = PE mgh kW



P = input power, kW

E = total efficiency, decimal fraction

m = mass flow rate, kg/s

g = 9.81 m/s2

h = elevation difference, m
Fans dissipate heat. However, this heat is detrimental only
when the fan is located upstream of the main workings (either
as blower or booster fans).


SME Mining Engineering Handbook

Example 5. A 1,500-m-long conveyor belt system transports ore at the rate of 720 t/h. The vertical lift is 280 m. The
system consumes 2,500 kW of power at an efficiency of 85%.
Determine the heat load along the belt line.
Solution. For an input power of 2,500 kW, an efficiency
of 85%, m = 200 kg/s, and h = 280 m, Equation15.512 yields
q=1,576 kW.
Diesel Engines
When diesel equipment is used in underground mines, in addition to smoke and fumes, a significant amount of heat is added
to the air. The heat flow from a diesel engine is about 2.8 times
the heat produced by an equivalent electric unit. About a third
of this is added at the radiator, another third at the exhaust pipe
in the form of smoke, and the remainder as useful work, which
is finally also converted into heat. Each volume of fuel produces from three to ten volumes of water vapor. This results in
increases of both latent and sensible heat of the air. The best
way to determine the heat load is to estimate the fuel consumption, F, and the combustion efficiency, E. Using this information and the calorific value of the fuel (C = 34,000 kJ/L), the
heat load, q, can be calculated using Equation15.513.
q = FEC


Alternatively, it can be approximated by multiplying the effective engine power by 2.8 (q = 3PE).
Example 6. A 30-t truck (298 kW) is operated at 80% of
its nameplate specifications in a development heading. How
much heat does this engine produce when fully loaded?
Solution. From Equation15.513, q = 2.8 # 298 # 0.8 =
668kW. This engine burns 668 kW of fuel to produce 298 kW
of effective power.
Heat from Broken Rock
When freshly blasted rock is exposed to ventilation air and
there is a temperature difference between them, there will be
heat flow from the rock to the air. In most cases, the broken
rock temperature will be less than the local VRT. However,
the difference is small, and for rough estimations it can be
ignored. Further, the rock temperature at the storage bin or
exit point will be equal to the ambient air temperature. Based
on these assumptions, the heat load from broken rock can be
approximated using Equation15.514 as follows:
q = mCp(VRT td) kW


where Cp is the specific heat of broken rock, kJ/kgC.

Example 7. One hundred metric tons per hour of broken
rock (granite) with a Cp = 0.82 kJ/kgC is transported from a
drawpoint where the rock temperature is 45C to an ore bin
where the rock has cooled down to 30C. Estimate the heat
transfer from the broken rock to the ventilation system.
Solution. For m = 27.78 kg/s and t = 15C, Equation15.514 yields q = 342 kW.
Heat from Groundwater
Mine water comes from two sources: natural fissures in the
rock and human-induced sources from various applications,
including water used for cooling. The fissure water has usually
the same temperature as the VRT. However, the temperature of
human-induced water can vary from below ambient temperature to more than 40C (104F). Ventilation air will pick up the
heat from hot water in uncovered ditches. The heat flow from

groundwater can be estimated by applying Equation15.514,

where the Cp(water) = 4.19 kJ/kgC. Whenever possible,
groundwater should be confined at the source and transported
through pipelines or covered ditches.
Example 8. A mine produces 0.010 m3/s of fissure water
at the local VRT of 55C. If the water exits the discharge system at 30C, how much heat is added to the ventilation air?
Solution. For m = 10 kg/s and t = 25C, q = 1,048 kW.
Other Sources of Heat
Other sources of heat include those from the oxidation of
timber, sulfide ores, and carbon-based minerals. Oxidation of
timber usually begins with the growth of bacteria in poorly
ventilated areas (with less than 2% oxygen). Coal and pyritic
sulfides will oxidize at normal ambient temperatures. The
reaction is exothermic. If the heat is not removed, this can initiate a self-heating process and can develop into fires. Except
for mines with extensive caved areas, this heat is usually
swept out by ventilation and ignored in the estimation of the
heat load.
Total Heat Load
For a given section, the heat load is determined as the sum
of the heat loads from different sources. Once evaluated,
this load is used to determine the ventilation or refrigeration
requirements. The requirements are calculated by equating the
wet bulb temperature at the exit of the section to the reject
temperature. Psychrometric charts can be used to determine
the size of fans and cooling devices.
Example 9. Air enters a section of a mine at td = 26C, tw
= 20C, and 101 kPa of absolute pressure. The heat load in the
section is estimated at 3,000 kW. If the wet bulb temperature
of the air leaving the section is not to exceed 28C, what is the
required quantity of air?
Solution. For V = 0.850 m3/kg, h1 = 57 kJ/kg, and h2 =
89.5kJ/kg, using Equation15.511, q = 78.5 m3/s.


When actual or projected heat loads exceed the ability of a

mines ventilation system to remove the heat, cooling methods
must be considered. In principle, a mine cooling system is a
heat-removal system. A substance such as air, water, or ice is
sent into the mine at a low enthalpy state and removed at a
higher one. Planning for existing or proposed mines generally
follows the methods listed in this section (McPherson 1993;
Howes and Hortin 2005).
Airflow Increase
It is generally less expensive to increase airflow than to install
refrigeration. Primary fans can be replaced or sped up, booster
fans can be installed, or new airways can be driven. However,
for older mines, airflow increases are often impractical
because of the cube relationship between fan power and airflow increase through a given resistance. Nor does increasing
airflows help mines at or below the critical ventilation depth,
which is the depth at which the intake shaft wet bulb temperature exceeds the design reject temperature.
Chilling the Service Water
This technique was developed in South Africa. All metal
mines require service water to suppress dust whenever rocks
are drilled or broken and to wash sidewalls and the face for
ground support and geologic mapping. Chilled service water

Heat, Humidity, and AirConditioning

is among the most flexible cooling methods available, because

it is used where needed the most and then turned off and routed
elsewhere. It intercepts rock heat before that heat enters the
air. However, chilling the service water requires a refrigeration plant and insulated pipelines. Plate-and-frame evaporators can produce 1C (34F) water, whereas shell-and-tube
heat exchangers are limited to about 3.3C (38F) because of
potential tube rupturing. The effect can be wasted if chilled
service water is used where cooling is not required. Chilled
service water can be potable or nonpotable, but in any case it
should be treated for microorganisms.
Bulk Cool Intake Air on Surface
This method is used at warm-climate mines to provide winterlike or better conditions year round. Surface refrigeration plants
are almost always less expensive and easier to install and maintain than equivalent underground plants, are not limited in heat
rejection, and are not subject to disruption following underground
power outages. Ammonia machines can be used. Compressors
are usually centrifugal or rotary screw. Multiple machines are
often installed in parallel so that a single machine can be down
for maintenance without disrupting cooling duty to any significant extent. Depending on conditions, evaporators and/or condensers on multiple machines can be installed in series to provide
greater temperature difference (lift) to water temperatures. Mine
refrigeration machines typically provide a lift of about 6 to 8C
(11 to 14F). The lower positional efficiency and utilization over
a years time generally preclude surface bulk cooling from being
used in cooler-climate mines.
Bulk Cool Air Underground
This practice has a higher positional efficiency and a higher
utilization than do surface plants because it is closer to work
areas. It also utilizes the full heat-removal potential of the
ventilation system by rejecting heat to exhaust air via underground cooling towers. The refrigerant used must be nontoxic.
Both centrifugal and rotary-screw compressors are used. As
with surface plants, multiple machines are usually installed
in parallel.
Installing Chillers
Also known as district cooling, midsize refrigeration machines
of 350 to 1,250 kW(R) can chill water for a closed-loop system
of cooling coils or spray chambers. These coils and chambers
are located at the entrances of work areas. Coils can be located
in a bank. Auxiliary fans draw air through the cooling units
and blow it through a duct to work headings. Refrigeration
machine condenser heat is preferably rejected to clean service water, if enough quantity is available. But heat is often
rejected to mine sump water before being pumped out of the
mine. Problems encountered with district cooling are coil-air
side and condenser tube-water side fouling.
Spot Coolers
These units range from 70 to 350 kW(R) capacity. The units
are portable and contain one or two direct-expansion cooling
coils, one or two condensers, one or two compressors, and
a fan. Cooled air is delivered through a duct to the heading.
Condenser heat is usually rejected to the mine service water.
This water typically discharges at temperatures between 35
and 45C (95 and 113F), and thus it should be piped to prevent it from contacting intake airflows. The service water flow
rate is approximately 0.02 L/s per kW(R) of cooling at 21C


(70F) water temperature, but can be less or more depending

on temperature.
Spot coolers are popular with the work force. Although
limited to moderate cooling duties, they are easily moved to
positions close to advancing headings. Spot coolers cost more
per unit of cooling but can be the only choice for development, exploration, or production workings on the periphery
of operations. The service water system, mine dewatering
system, and surface treatment or disposal system must be
capable of handling the increased water flow required for condenser cooling. Some applications might employ air-cooled
condensers. In the past, reciprocating compressors were used.
More recently, scroll-type hermetic compressors have been
employed because they are less expensive and can handle liquid slugging better than can reciprocating units. Larger spot
coolers can use rotary-screw compressors. Current designs
use non-ozone-depleting and non-global-warming refrigerants. As with water-cooling coils, direct expansion coils on
spot coolers must be washed, the frequency depending on how
much dusty air the unit receives.
Cooling Towers
Cooling towers utilize the full heat-removal capacity of a
mine by rejecting refrigeration machine condenser heat to the
exhaust air. Exhaust air typically exits the work areas at a temperature close to the design reject temperature, for instance,
28C (82F) wet bulb. A common misconception is that heat
cannot be rejected to saturated air through evaporation, but the
process in a cooling tower involves both sensible heating of
the air by hot water followed by latent, or evaporative, cooling of the circulating condenser water. Latent heat is typically
about 80% of total heat transfer. Water sprayed in the cooling tower is often about 45C (113F), which cools to about
35C (95F) before being sent back to the refrigeration room.
Actual temperatures depend on the efficiency of heat transfer,
both in tower and machine condensers, and on various design
parameters, such as water flow rate and condensing temperature. Equation15.515 calculates the total heat transfer on the
water side, Hw, and Equation15.516 calculates the total heat
transfer on the air side, Ha, as follows:
Hw = MwCpDt kW



Mw = mass flow of water, kg/s

Cp = specific heat of water, 4.18 kJ/kgC

Dt =inlet water temperature minus the outlet water
temperature, C
Ha = MaDh kW



Ma = mass flow of air, kg/s

Dh =specific enthalpy of exit air minus the specific
enthalpy of entering air, kJ/kg
Cooling tower analysis proceeds by equating Hw with Ha. Mines
use the factor-of-merit method, developed in South Africa,
for planning, designing, and analyzing cooling towers and
spray chambers. The factor-of-merit for a direct-contact heat
exchanger, such as a cooling tower or spray chamber, ranges
between 0 and 1, where 0 implies no heat transfer takes place
and 1 implies as much heat transfer as permitted by the second
law of thermodynamics (Burrows 1982). In other words, the


SME Mining Engineering Handbook

fluid with the lower thermal capacity, either water or air, heats
up or cools down to the entering temperature of the other fluid.
Normally the designer knows the exhaust air quantity and
temperature available for the cooling tower through measurements or the mine plan. For a new mine, the tower entering
air wet bulb temperature can be assumed to be about 1.5C
(2.7F) lower than the design reject. The lower temperature is
caused by leakage airflows entering exhaust. At most deep and
hot mines, the air can be assumed to be saturated. Very roughly,
19.8 to 40.3 kW of heat can be rejected to 1 m/s (2,100 cfm).
Cooling tower analysis is a complicated procedure. The
designer must know or assume the heat to be rejected (the
evaporator duty times the condenser heat-rejection factor),
the entering air quantity and temperature, the tower factorof-merit (from experience, based on accepted design criteria),
and a first guess on the condenser water flow rate. Condenser
water flow depends on the heat to be rejected and the refrigeration machine specifications. The exiting air temperature,
the entering and exiting water temperatures, and the water
makeup requirements can then be calculated via an iterative
procedure. An example of cooling tower design for a 3.5-MW
underground refrigeration plant is given in the 2007 ASHRAE
applications handbook.
Large Spray Coolers
Large spray chambers are used to bulk-cool ventilating airflows that are used for mining operations. These chambers can
be located on the surface at the intake shaft or underground.
Chambers are usually two- or three-stage horizontal openings equipped with Vee Jet spray nozzles lining the chamber.
Wave-fin mist eliminators at the exit keep water from blowing out of the chamber. More details are given in the 2007
ASHRAE applications handbook.
Small Spray Chambers
Small spray chambers are typically portable, enclosed, directcontact heat exchangers for small duties 35 to 350 kW. An
auxiliary fan draws or blows air through the chamber, which is
then ducted to the work heading. Wave-fin or mesh-type mist
eliminators keep sprayed water in the chamber. On the water
side, about 0.018 L/s (2.85 gpm) per kW of chilled service
water is required for operation. This water is dumped into the
ditch and into the mine dewatering system. Or, in a closed
loop system, the water is collected and pumped back to a district refrigeration machine. These chambers are efficient and
inexpensive for small duties, especially those requiring auxiliary ventilation. Limited air scrubbing takes place. But they
require the chilled water and mine dewatering infrastructure
to support them.
Integrated Refrigeration Systems
Integrated or combination systems can cool both intake air
and/or service water. The proportion depends on the season,
with more bulk cooling in the summer and more water chilling in winter. If service water is recycled after being pumped
out of the mine, it is often sent first to a precooling tower
before being refrigerated. Recycling mine water may reduce
treatment costs by reducing water that is rejected to surface
drainage streams or ponds. Integrated systems come in a wide
variety of cooling and energy recovery methods that utilize
both surface and underground components. Most deep, hot
mines employ some type of integrated refrigeration system.

Ice Plant
50 kg/s
80% Ice
20% Water

50 kg/s
Mine Pump
101 kg/s

151 kg/s

151 kg/s

Mining Area
20.7 MW(R)

Figure 15.5-8 Basic ice cooling schematic with sample numbers

Ice Cooling
For deep, hot mines or mines already utilizing their full heatremoval capacity, ice cooling may be the answer. Ice can
remove about 4.5 times the heat as an equivalent mass flow
of chilled water. Ice is produced on the surface in chunk or
slurry form and is sent underground to a melting dam, where
the ice is melted by warm water returning from work areas.
South African mines have been at the forefront of ice application. Problems with ice transport have been mostly solved.
Currently, ice systems can compete on a cost basis with standard cooling techniques for deep mines. Figure15.58 shows
a basic ice cooling system.
Vests and Cabs
As mines become deeper, microclimate cooling should be
considered for specific operations. Dry-ice (frozen carbon
dioxide) or cold-pack cooling vests can be used by crews setting up ventilation in hot headings before permanent systems
are in operation. These vests are heavy-duty fire-fightertype jackets with internal pockets that are filled with ice
slabs; the jacket is kept closed by a belt and/or straps, and the
wearer is cooled as the ice melts. Vests are not popular with
the work forcethey are bulky and the cooling effect only
lasts between 2 and 3 hours, then the vest must be recharged.
Air-conditioned cabs on large load-haul-dump machines and
trucks have proven themselves worthy of consideration. One
of the biggest problems with diesel equipment is the heat
produced. A diesel engine produces about 2.8 times the rated
power in heat. Thus, a 100-kW loader operating at 80% utilization produces 100 # 0.8 # 2.8 = 224 kW of heat. The design
reject temperature can easily be exceeded in headings serviced
by diesel vehicles. Air-conditioned cabs protect the operator
from heat, noise, and dust. Although air-conditioned cabs are
expensive, the cost is much less than trying to maintain the
reject temperature in all headings serviced by diesel vehicles.
Energy Recovery
Most mines send water underground for various purposes,
including wetting down muck piles and reducing dust. Hot
mines also send down water solely for cooling. In deep, hot
mines, water pressure must be periodically broken to prevent
excessive hydrostatic heads in pipes. This is often accomplished by pressure-reducing valves or by using a cascading water-tank system. If service water flow is high enough,

Heat, Humidity, and AirConditioning

thought should be given to a system that recovers the waters

potential energy and converts it to useful work. A turbine
either a centrifugal pump designed to run in reverse or a
Pelton wheelcan reduce the pressure and recover up to
80% of the energy required to pump the water back to the
surface. Another benefit is preventing the conversion of water
potential energy into heat; that is, 1C (1.8F) for every 427m
(1,400ft) of drop. Other energy-recovery devices include the
hydrochambers or hydrotransformers (popular in Europe).
These are underground chambers equipped with two pumps in
two separate circuits. The chambers are alternately filled with
chilled water delivered from surface and hot water returned
from the mine (McPherson 1993).
Controlled Recirculation
This technique is used with bulk air-cooling underground to
reduce the fresh-air quantity needed to ventilate the mine. A
portion of the mine exhaust air is cooled, scrubbed, and recirculated back to the workings. Advantages include higher air
velocities in work areas; lower circuit fan pressure, because
less air is drawn through the primary circuit; and a lower heat
load due to autocompression. Autocompression can account
for half the heat load at some mines. Controlled recirculation is usually applicable to deep, hot, mechanized mines, but
because of the risk involved with recirculating air, it has not
been used widely. Controlled recirculation systems must be
monitored and controlled very carefully (Marks 1987). Freshair flow from the surface must be high enough to remove dust,
blasting fumes, and diesel emissions. Controlled recirculation
can be shut down during blasting.
Thermal Storage Systems
This innovative technique has been used to good effect in
cold-climate mines. In winter, intake air is drawn through surface rubble piles or ice stopes where it is heated by the rock
or by spraying water, which then freezes, releasing its latent
heat into the air. In summer, the process reverses, with intake
air being cooled by the rock rubble or melting ice (Stachulak
1989). This system is being successfully applied at Vales
Creighton mine in Ontario, Canada.
Mine cooling is not an install-and-forget system. Adequate
maintenance must be planned from the start. Any cooling coil,
direct expansion, or chilled water is subject to air side fouling.
If at all possible, coils should be placed upstream of blasting.
Coils receiving dusty and fume-laden air must be washed with
a high-pressure spray (but not too high of a pressure or the fins
will bend) at least every other day. Cooling coils should have a
fin spacing no tighter than one fin per 4.2 mm (6 fins per inch)
to limit fouling. If sump water is used for district refrigeration machine condenser cooling, the condenser tubes must be
cleaned, either by an automatic reversing brush system with a
flow diverter valve or by shutting the machine down periodically (depending on the water-fouling factor) and cleaning the
tubes manually. Mines with extensive refrigeration systems
(e.g., a large chiller plant or more than 10 spot coolers) should
employ a mechanic specializing in refrigeration. This person can be assisted by apprentice mechanics. Another viable
approach is to retain the services of factory mechanics or a
local high-volume air conditioning and repair shop. Any such
mechanics must be certified to handle refrigerants.


Selecting a Cooling System

Selecting a cooling system takes place after the mine cooling
and ventilation requirements have been specified. The relationship between mine cooling and ventilation requires special
attention, especially if mine exhaust air is expected to remove
heat via underground cooling towers. Cost-benefit is the most
common analytical technique. Each alternative requires certain expenditure and each provides a certain benefit. But just
as important are hardware dependability, maintainability,
dependency on outside factors, flexibility, safety, and technological level. An attempt must be made to quantify some of
the more intangible aspects. Factors influencing selection of a
mine cooling system include the following.
Seasonal surface ambient conditions. As mentioned
previously, warm climate mines tend to bulk-cool air on
the surface close to the intake shaft.
Ore-body and mining methods. The more massive the
ore body, the more ideal bulk cooling becomes. Scattered
stoping or continuously advancing headings lend themselves more to spot or district cooling. Large ore bodies
amenable to bulk mining may use larger airflows and yet
less air per ton of production.
Mining rate. A fast mining rate prompts a high instantaneous heat load. But ironically, less total heat (and
therefore lower costs) might be drawn from the wall rock
due to stopes being quickly filled and sealed. One should
leave as much heat in the wall rock as possible.
Size and condition of major airways. In older mines
beginning to experience heat problems, airflow increases
might be prohibitively expensive due to small airways.
Refrigeration might be needed earlier than at larger mines.
Heat sources. The percentages of heat flow from various sources influences the selection of cooling methods. If autocompression is a major source, bulk cooling
at the bottom of an intake shaft might be called for. If
large quantities of heat come from diesel equipment, cabs
might be appropriate. If more work takes place in the
stopes or in the development and exploration headings
than in the haulways, spot cooling might be best.
Costs. Knowing the costs of labor, water, supplies, and
power is critical for determining the optimum capital
expenditure to control operating costs. For example, if
power cost is high, a higher coefficient-of-performance
system may be warranted.
Governmental regulation. Some governments regulate
heat stress. There are also laws prohibiting toxic refrigerants or combustible insulation underground. These factors can influence design of cooling systems.


Example 10 is presented to illustrate the various steps involved

in developing a ventilation-refrigeration system for a hot deep
mine. Decision parameters such as the critical depth, total
heat load, and airflow requirements to create acceptable work
conditions are highlighted. Once these parameters are made
available, ventilation and climate simulators can be used to
represent the mine openings and to predict the ventilation and
air-cooling requirements.
CLIMSIM, a climatic simulator based on radial heat
transfer from or to an airway, is used to predict the temperature
and air-cooling profiles for a set of new workings, especially


SME Mining Engineering Handbook



Q3 = 284 m3/s

1,000 m
3,000-kW Cooler




300 m


800 m

1,000 L

1,300 L

300 m
100 m

Figure 15.5-9 Mine ventilation schematic

for those subject to different types of heat loads (McPherson

1993). The profiles are then evaluated against preestablished
standards, and the cooling requirements are determined. Wet
bulb temperature and effective temperature are used as the target temperatures in the evaluation.
Example 10. A mining company extracts 1,200 t/d
(1,320 stpd) of ore from an ore body located 1,000 m
(3,280 ft) below the surface. Exploration work has shown
that the ore body, a mineralized quartzite, extends to lower
levels for at least 300 m (980 ft). This work has also shown
a substantial increase in rock and groundwater temperatures
with depth. Preliminary measurements have shown that, due
to autocompression, the wet bulb temperature will increase
by about 6C (11F) per 1,000 m (3,280 ft) of vertical depth
and that the groundwater temperature will be 52C (126F)
(VRT). The inflow of fissure water is estimated at 2.6 L/s
(41 gpm). Currently, the company is preparing a prefeasibility study to deepen the mine to 1,300m (4,265 ft) below the
surface and to extract the remaining ore body at the rate of
1,500 t/d (1,650stpd). The ore will be mined by conventional
means of drilling and blasting. The required mining equipment includes seven jumbo drills (111 kW each), four production loaders (235 kW), and seven trucks (three 381 kW
and four 135kW), all diesel powered. In addition, the equipment includes a crusher-conveyor system (225kW). The heat
loads from the broken rock and groundwater are estimated at
352 and 262 kW, respectively. Figure 15.59 shows a schematic of the mine and the location of various heat sources.
Table15.52 summarizes the ventilation conditions that can be
achieved with the current infrastructure, thermal properties of
the rock, and heat loads for the resulting working areas. Based
on this information, the problem is to determine the cooling
requirement for this mine.
Solution. The problem was investigated using CLIMSIM
for various heat load and ventilation conditions. During the
analysis, two target temperatures were used: an average wet
bulb temperature of less than 28C (82F) and a maximum
wet bulb temperature of 32C (90F) at any working. When
these targets were not met, the ventilation and cooling requirements were modified. Based on the psychrometric properties
of the surface air, the depth of the openings, and an estimated
VRT of 52C (126F), two scenarios were analyzed. The first
simulated the mine before any air-cooling was installed and

Table 15.5-2 Airway, ventilation, and heat flow parameters for

Example 10


Geometry of mine opening

Length, m


Cross-sectional area, m2


Perimeter, m


Airway friction factor, kg/m3


Wetness factor


Ventilation at intake
Airflow rate, m3/s
Pressure, kPa


Dry bulb temperature, C


Wet bulb temperature, C


Thermal properties (quartzite)

Virgin rock temperature, C


Geothermal step, m/C


Thermal conductivity, W/m C


Thermal diffusivity, m2t/s


Heat sources
Ore bin, (x = 10 m), kW


Conveyor (x = 10 to 100 m), kW


Crusher (x = 100 m), kW


Drain water (x = 100 to 800 m), kW


Trucks (x = 100 to 800 m), kW


Loaders (x = 800 m), kW


Drills, controls (x = 1,000 m)


Booster fans (x = 1,100 m)


*Measured at intake shaft collar.

x = Distance from intake.

the second after an underground bulk air cooler was installed

in the intake shaft.
For the first scenario, two sets of parameters were estimated: the required airflow rate to dilute the air contaminants
and the heat generated at the workings. Based on the mining
equipment, a flow requirement of 0.079-m3/s (167 cfm) per kW
of power, and a minimum quantity of 70-m3/s (148,000cfm)
for two fixed facilities, the required airflow rate for the mine

Heat, Humidity, and AirConditioning

Table 15.5-3 Airflow requirements for Example 10

Utilization, %

Quantity, m3/s

Loaders (4 235 kW)



30-t trucks (3 381 kW)



Other trucks (4 135 kW)



Jumbo drills (7 111 kW)



Crusher system (225 kW)



Underground shops


Other fixed facilities



Total quantity


Temperature, C

td = Dry Bulb


tW = 28C

tw = Dry Bulb


Distance Along the Production Drift, m

diesel units would increase the wet and dry bulb temperatures
to 31 and 42C (88 and 108F), respectively.
This example shows the manner in which CLIMSIM can
be used to formulate alternate solutions to heat flow problems
and determine the capacity of the cooling system. It also shows
the effect of autocompression in the ventilation air and allows
the user to determine the critical depth, that is, the depth at
which the mine would require some form of external cooling. In this example, such a depth is located at about 900m
(2,950ft) below the surface.


In the United States, heat becomes an environmental concern

in mines where workings are located at depths greater than
1,000 m (3,280 ft). At such depths, ventilation alone is not sufficient to control the heat load, and the mine must be supplemented by some form of air conditioning.
Since the introduction of the first heat stress index in
1923, more than 90 indices have been developed in various countries. In U.S. mines, heat stress is not regulated.
Management must set and enforce the applicable limits. The
most commonly used indices are





Figure 15.5-10 CLIMSIM output for Equation 15.5-10 (wet

and dry bulb temperatures versus distance)

was estimated at 284 m3/s (600,000 cfm) (Table15.53). The

heat loads and their distances from the intake shaft are those
shown in Table15.52 and Figure15.59. The conveyor belt
and the drainage water were represented as linear sources of
heat. Once these values were input to the model and the simulator was run, the following results were generated: the wet
bulb temperature at the bottom of the intake shaft was 26C
(79F) and averaged 33.5C (92.3F) at the workings, and
the dry bulb temperatures at active workings varied between
36 and 52C (97 and 126F). Both temperatures are above
the acceptable target values, indicating that to maintain safe
working conditions, the mine would require some form of
cooling system.
For the second scenario, a 3,000-kW(R) refrigeration
plant was installed in the intake shaft. Physically, this could
be installed on the 1,000-m (3,280-ft) level, just upstream the
intake shaft. Once this parameter was added to the model (as
a negative heat source), the simulator generated the following results: the average wet bulb temperature would be equal
to 26.5C (79.7F), with a maximum of 30C (86F) in the
stopes; and the dry bulb temperature would average 33C
(91F). These results show that the 3,000-kW plant would provide acceptable work conditions in the mine. Figure15.510
shows two temperature profiles for the 1,200-m- (3,940-ft-)
long production drift. The 3,000-kW refrigeration plant would
reduce the wet bulb temperature at the bottom of the shaft
to 22C (72F). This temperature would remain below 26C
(79F) for 800 m (2,620 ft) where four 235-kW loaders are
operated in four production stopes and two development headings. The heat and water vapor generated by these and other

Wet bulb temperature for continuous work: 27C

Effective temperature for reduced workload: 28C
Air velocity: 0.5 m/s (100 fpm)
In underground mines, heat is emitted from various
sources, including autocompression, wall rock, mining equipment, groundwater, the oxidation of minerals, and metabolic
heat. The estimation of the total heat load is crucial to the
design of an air-cooling system. Once the individual heat loads
are quantified, mine climate simulators such as CLIMSIM can
be used to represent the mine openings and to predict the ventilation and air-cooling requirements.
Mine cooling is a heat-removal process in which a substance such as air, water, or ice is sent down the mine at a
low enthalpy state and removed at a higher one. Depending
on the amount of heat to be removed, several cooling methods
can be used to create acceptable work conditions. These can
range from upgrading the primary fans (increased ventilation)
to cooling the mine air (refrigeration).
Ventilation is the least-expensive method to remove heat
from mine workings. However, it has a limitthe critical
depth. The critical depth is the depth at which the wet bulb
temperature of the intake air exceeds the allowable wet bulb
Refrigeration plants used in hot mines range from spot
coolers (for localized heat loads) to bulk air coolers (for widespread heat flow problems). Bulk air coolers can be installed
on the surface, near the intake shaft, or underground, near
the workings. Deciding at which stage a refrigeration plant is
required is a difficult question to answer. Economics and sitespecific conditions will dictate the optimal choice.


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