underground mining excellence

 

Safety

Barminco has embarked on an equipment modification program as part of our plan to improve the management of diesel emissions and in our spirit of continuous improvement towards safety.

Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) produced from diesel engines has been identified as a major health and safety issue in underground mining.

Its ultra-fine particles are a complex mixture of chemicals including black carbon, metallic ash and sulphates which can be very harmful to our underground teams. It also affects production performance by reducing vehicle efficiency.

Underground, where diesel exhaust has very low dilution levels, DPM is an even bigger issue. Small dilution ratios mean particles have a larger organic fraction and are likely to cause more oxidative stress.

There are existing solutions to monitor, manage and treat the larger particles but DPM can occur down to five nanometres. At this size, DPM presents greater health risks and greater challenges for its monitoring and treatment.

Barminco’s commitment to safety and continuous improvement led us to team up with technical specialists, Peak3, in 2010 to undertake a study into DPM.

The study aimed to improve understanding of the mechanisms and controls associated with the production and distribution of DPM throughout a mine and facilitated the development of a best practice management plan for controlling exposure.

The plan focuses on three key components:

  1. Mine site ventilation design
  2. Point-of-source emissions minimisation
  3. Real time exposure monitoring.

The area of greatest influence available to Barminco at present is the reduction in point-of-source emissions. To this end, we have commenced a vehicle modification program - fitting exhaust conditioning equipment to our fleet to reduce emissions being released into the mine ventilation system. This work will be progressive and ongoing.