The coal mining industry continues to flourish in South Africa, contributing in excess of R100 billion to the economy during 2013. Ranked as the industry’s top revenue earner above gold, iron-ore and platinum, South Africa is now one of the world’s leading countries in regards to coal reserves, following extensive exploration across the Waterberg, Tuli and Soutpansberg coalfields.
Significant projects on the horizon include a joint venture between Anglo American and Inyosi Coal, who plan to build the New Largo opencast coal mine (11 million tons a year expected) and the Elders underground coal mine (3.1 million tons a year). Sasol Mining has invested R14 billion in four new coal mines, while Exxaro is ramping up their Grootegeluk opencast operation to supply Eskom’s new Medupi Power Station.
With such substantial growth in the industry, the requirement for adequate emergency response procedures is becoming increasingly important. The MineARC CoalSAFE range has been developed specifically for underground coal mining conditions, providing a long-term refuge option for personnel should evacuation prove impossible.
Blast proof up to 15 psi overpressure, the CoalSAFE can withstand primary and secondary explosions, extreme temperatures and flash fires. Innovative in design, it is currently the only refuge range on the market to incorporate both a powerless carbon dioxide/carbon monoxide scrubber, as well as an intrinsically safe air conditioning system (refrigerant R744).
Manufactured and tested to the highest industry regulations and guidelines, the CoalSAFE range has been approved by the West Virginian Office of Miners Health & Safety and is currently the only refuge model in the world built to United States Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) ‘Final Rule’ 2009 (30CFR §7.503).
Additional features of the CoalSAFE include; a flushing airlock, explosion proof viewing portals, internal and external gas monitoring, and communication ports. Options available to allow for up to 100 hrs safe refuge.