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Do Refuge Chambers Represent a Good Strategy to Manage Emergencies in Underground Coal Mines?
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Civil, Environmental and Natural Resources Engineering, Mining and Geotechnical Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-1196-9082
Colorado School of Mines, Golden, USA.
2019 (English)In: Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration, ISSN 2524-3462Article in journal (Refereed) Epub ahead of print
Abstract [en]

The 2006 Sago, Darby, and Aracoma mine disasters in the United States (US) forced the US government to implement the 2006MINER Act and additional regulations that require all US underground coal mines to install and maintain refuge chambers tomanage entrapment emergencies, in particular, fires and explosions. However, there is a debate on whether barricading in refugechambers is a good strategy to survive such emergencies. Australian coal mines are not required to use refuge chambers and,instead, have adopted a strategy that focuses on instructing and training miners to self-escape to the surface. This paper analyzesmerits and problems of using refuge chambers and self-escape to the surface to manage emergencies in fires or explosions in anunderground coal mine. The authors found that the use of refuge chambers may not be the best strategy during extensive fires orwhen multiple explosions happen. In these situations, mine rescuers are unlikely able to extract miners who are sheltered inchambers and conversely, self-escape may save more lives than sheltering. Chances for successful self-escape are furtherimproved by regular, externally assessed training such as Level 1 Emergency Exercises required in the Australian State of Queensland. These exercises put pressure on mine operators to ensure and maintain the effectiveness of their emergencymanagement system.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2019.
Keywords [en]
Refuge chamber, Mine emergency, Mine fire, Underground coal mines
National Category
Mineral and Mine Engineering Other Civil Engineering
Research subject
Mining and Rock Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-75027DOI: 10.1007/s42461-019-0100-8OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-75027DiVA, id: diva2:1330993
Available from: 2019-06-26 Created: 2019-06-26 Last updated: 2019-07-05

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