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Safety a Focus at Largest Zambian Mine

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In collaboration with Mopani Copper Mines PLC, to implement corrective action to strengthen the integrity and importance of safety on site.
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Safety Focus for Zambian Mine
MineSAFE Standard Design Part of Safety Focus for Zambian Mine

MineARC is pleased to have collaborated with Mopani Copper Mines PLC as they implement corrective action to strengthen the integrity and importance of safety on site. Recognising the value of emergency response preparedness, Mopani recently acquired 12 MineARC Refuge Chambers to ensure personnel are adequately protected when working underground.

Mopani is a Zambian registered copper mine owned by Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines Investment Holdings (ZCCM-IH) (10%), Glencore PLC (73.1%) and First Quantum Minerals Ltd. (16.9%). Located in the Copper belt of Zambia, in the towns of Mufulira and Nkana, Mopani is one of the world’s largest Copper mine.


The mine is set to increase operations and production in line with an approved operational plan going forward. As part of Phase 1 of their project, Mopani has procured the following MineARC Refuge Chambers to improve mine site safety standards underground at their Nkana South operations:

  • Seven 20-Person MineSAFE Permanent Refuge Chambers
  • Two 50-Person MineSAFE Permanent Refuge Chambers
  • Two 12-Person MineSAFE Standard Design Refuge Chambers
  • One 20-Person MineSAFE Standard Design Refuge Chamber

From an emergency preparedness perspective, this significant investment will make the conditions underground for all personnel safer. Working closely with Mopani allowed MineARC engineers to tailor the refuge models to best suit their requirements. All MineSAFE Refuge Chambers consist of a standard framework of recommended componentry, vital to the safe operation of the refuge chamber during an emergency. These components include:

  • CO / CO2 Air Scrubbing System with cartridge chemicals capable of maintaining CO2 levels to less than 1%, and CO levels below 25ppm; standard requirements for the provision of safe, breathable air.
  • Cooling / Dehumidifying systems in the form of air conditioners as standard fittings.
  • UPS Battery Backup in order to power critical life support equipment should mains power be disrupted or lost during an emergency.
  • Inverter Charging System.
  • Secondary Oxygen Supply – through the installation of Medical Grade Oxygen Cylinders.
  • Vent Doors / Airlocks for the permanent refuge chambers.
  • Compressed Air Management Systems (CAMS) for the adequate filtration of compressed air entering the refuge chamber to ensure it is breathable and for continual gas toxicity monitoring.

Mopani’s 12 MineARC Refuge Chambers will also be equipped with MineARC’s latest refuge chamber technology, GuardIAN Remote Monitoring and Diagnostics System and Aura-FX Digital Fixed Gas Monitoring System.

The integrated network of proprietary MineARC technologies including GuardIAN, Aura-FX, MineARC’s Digital Controller Systems and CAMS is collectively referred to as MineARC’s System Intelligence. Designed to efficiently provide real-time monitoring, communication and system diagnostics, System Intelligence reduces costs, increases productivity through improved worker morale and improves operational safety.

GuardIAN is an independent system that continuously monitors all vital refuge operating systems, enabling real-time monitoring and providing Mopani with the confidence that their fleet of refuge chambers is emergency ready at all times. During standby mode, GuardIAN checks for component faults and monitors refuge chamber usage and entry to the chamber. GuardIAN will also provide Mopani real-time internal refuge gas monitoring data and analysis delivered from Aura-FX as well as vital information relating to the integrity of the internal refuge chamber atmosphere communicated from CAMS. The unique Compressed Air Management System monitors and regulates compressed air flow into the chamber. An increase in CAMS activity would indicate a breach of the refuge chamber seal, thus sending an alert via GuardIAN to designated personnel that there is a potential problem or incident.

Safety is a priority for Mopani and MineARC alike. In emergencies such as fires, explosions, rock-falls, flooding, and the release of smoke and other forms of toxic gas, when evacuation is no-longer safe or practical, an emergency refuge is designed to provide a safe and secure ‘go-to’ area for personnel to gather and await extraction. This investment is a clear demonstration of Mopani’s commitment to instilling a strong safety culture on site.


For further information on MineARC’s MineSAFE Refuge Chambers and componentry, please contact us.

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