Evaluating complex mine ventilation operational changes through simulations
Increasing the profitability of the mining industry is contingent on its ability to improve operational efficiency. Mine ventilation networks typically represent 25-50% of a mine’s energy consumption and, therefore, exhibits scope for optimisation. Ventilation networks comprise numerous complex integrated airways, branches and ventilation fans. The most effective way to optimise and evaluate them is computer-aided simulations. However, no framework exists to clarify exactly how operational changes in ventilation networks should be evaluated. In this study, a scalable method was developed, implemented and analysed. The case study validation resulted in satisfying key performance indicators of both service delivery and operational energy costs, thereby increasing operational efficiency. The significance of the novel method is that it allows for improved operational decisions on mine ventilation networks. The value of the method was illustrated by the adoption of the method by the case study mining personnel to form the new norm of their procedures and standards.
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