A breath of fresh air

A YEAR of research at mine refuge specialist MineARC has led to the development of a compressed air management system (CAMS) that promises clean air with usage and maintenance savings of up to 80%.
A breath of fresh air A breath of fresh air A breath of fresh air A breath of fresh air A breath of fresh air

MineARC's compressed air management system for refuge chambers promises clean air at less costs.

Marion Lopez

The CAMS is a four-phase filtration system that MineARC says can optimise mine air and prevent over pressurisation of the refuge chamber.

“The unit features an air pressure sensor and shut off valve, allowing it to regulate air flow into the chamber by automatically emitting periodic bursts when internal pressure drops below 200 pascals,” MineARC CAMS project lead engineer Daragh Quinn said.

“This maintains a positive pressure seal; ensuring contaminants cannot enter the refuge chamber from the outside”.

Quinn added the CAMS could keep carbon monoxide out of the chamber in the event of a fire by diverting mine air away if oxygen levels in the airline were to fall below a safe level.

A flood protection valve also prevents water infiltration by automatically shutting down mine air until the water source is removed.

MineARC said these features combined had shown a reduction in air usage of around 80%.

This figure was replicated in the maintenance side of the technology thanks in part to its clip-in/clip-out design for easy filter change-out.

“This means no more screwing in filter elements and housings, and no damaged parts due to wear and tear,” MineARC said.

“Compared to the current standard, service time will be reduced by approximately 80%; allowing personnel to service five chambers in the same time it would usually take to service one.”

In the coming months, the CAMS will replace the three-phase mine air filtration system on all MineARC refuge chambers.

Currently owned chambers can also be retro-fitted with the CAMS upon request.

Excited by the development, MineARC managing director Paul Ness said: “It marks the beginning of a new era of refuge chamber technology in the industry, with MineARC continuing to remain at the forefront of innovation.”