The Use of Diesel Engines Underground in South African Mines.
NIOSH 1982 Oct:95-108
The use of diesel equipment in South African mines was discussed. The scope of the South African mining industry was summarized. The industry employed more than 500,000 people of whom 390,000 worked underground recovering primarily gold, platinum, diamonds, and coal. Most coal mines were shallow, depth less than 200 meters (m); however, some gold mines were as deep as 3,600m. The roles of the Chamber of Mines (COM) and the Department of Mines (DOM) inthe South African mining industry were discussed. The COM was a cooperative association of mining companies that lobbied the government, negotiated labor contracts, and sponsored some research and development projects. The DOM was the official government regulating agency. Using diesel equipment in South African mines was discussed. Diesel equipment use in coal and other underground mines was regulated by the Inspector of Mines and the Mines and Works Act. The minimum ventilation requirements for mines using diesel equipment were reviewed. Engines on dieselized equipment had to be flameproofed and could be used only in places having a minimum air speed of 0.5 meters per second (m/sec). The effects of air temperature increase, oxygen deficiency, and barometric pressure changes due to mine depth on mine ventilation requirements were discussed. Factors required to ensure efficient operation of diesel engines in underground mines were listed. The author concludes that most South African mines are so deep that relatively large amounts of air must be circulated to counter the effects of heat and humidity. This results in reducing the pollution from diesel equipment and dust. The requirement that ventilation air speeds in mines where diesel equipment is used must be at least 0.5m/sec is sufficient to disperse the fumes and heat so that they do not become a health and safety problem. A transcript of a question and answer session was provided.
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