Examining behind-the-seal inertion

CONNECTICUT-BASED On Site Gas spoke with Coal USA about the hot topic of behind-the-seal gas inertion, including how mines can be proactive about issues is the wake of ever-changing ventilation regulations.
Examining behind-the-seal inertion Examining behind-the-seal inertion Examining behind-the-seal inertion Examining behind-the-seal inertion Examining behind-the-seal inertion

A small inertization unit located underground in a West Virginia mine.

Donna Schmidt

Published in the August 2010 Coal USA Magazine

These new laws have made keeping behind-seal areas in a non-explosive atmosphere critical, according to company vice president of sales Robert Wolff.

For the many mines planning to install high-pressure seals, diligence regarding monitoring atmospheric condition levels is imperative to remain in compliance.

“Due to abnormal temperature swings and changing atmospheric conditions, many mines are experiencing a higher level of in-gassing and out-gassing than in the past,” he explained.

This, combined with regular compliance testing requirements, has increased interest in nitrogen inertion by above ground and underground operations – and feedback by the industry to On Site Gas’ staff regarding the issue indicates that interest is increasing rapidly.

Many mines are turning to nitrogen inertion because of the currently long turnaround time for seal replacements, while some are increasing the number of areas to inert until other solutions can be applied, Wolff told Coal USA.

So how can underground mines be proactive about potential hazards in the first place? Consistent monitoring is key.

“This provides indications that a mine may be heading towards a potential situation of non-compliance,” Wolff said.

“Many mines are now being proactive by [injecting] nitrogen constantly into the higher volatile areas. The more proactive mines are also keeping nitrogen generators on standby that can be deployed immediately if the monitored area starts indicating the need for inerting.”

One solution On Site Gas Systems has found to be helpful to mines is to offer the flexibility of standby units, along with short and long-term leasing for those customers awaiting new seals.

In addition to purchase and rent-to-own options, the company also established an emergency hotline and can ship out a nitrogen generator package within hours of receiving a phone call.