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Turkey Mandates the Use of Underground Refuge Chambers

As changes come into place for underground hard rock mining in Turkey in 2018, it is important to look at what these changes are and why they are being implemented.

Turkey Mandates the Use of Underground Refuge Chambers
MineSAFE Standard Design Refuge Chamber for Underground Mines

Turkey’s recent notification from the Ministry of Labor and Social Security goes into very specific detail about the procedures and principals regarding refuge chambers as illustrated in Article 30 of Law on Occupational Health and Safety No. 6331. Each of these requirements is based on hard evidence of necessity learned through real life emergencies around the world and the legislations that have been put in place in different regions globally.

Unlike most of their competitors in the manufacture and supply of underground refuge chambers, MineARC Systems world leading refuge chamber has been tried and tested in the field in multiple real life emergencies.

In the almost 18 years spent developing and improving their refuge chamber designs, MineARC Systems has watched on as the attitude of the mining industry has changed from regarding refuge chambers as an optional extra, to a lifesaving necessity in underground mining. As such, many mining nations have legislated to mandate the use of underground refuge chambers over the past several years including Australia, USA, China, South Africa and now recently Turkey.

The lifesaving capabilities of MineARC Refuge Chambers were underlined in an incident at a prominent gold mine in the Goldfields of Western Australia in 2006. In the accident nine miners were forced to flee to two underground MineARC refuge chambers after a remote controlled loader caught fire. There were no injuries after a well-coordinated emergency response team brought all miners to the surface within hours.

A similar incident occurred at a separate mine in the Goldfields in 2007, when 54 workers were trapped underground after a truck caught fire, which spread to the ceiling, filling the mine with smoke. All workers were successfully rescued without injury, after spending six hours in specially installed MineARC refuge chambers.

The MineSAFE chambers, which can be built as standard to hold up to 30 miners for unassisted durations of up to 96 hours, work by using up to three independent air supply systems; including mine air with MineARC’s proprietary Compressed Air Management System (CAMS), oxygen cylinders and (optional) oxygen candle; as well as MineARC’s Series IV Air Scrubbing & Control System, which scrubs the interior atmosphere for carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide to remove the harmful and potentially deadly gases. An integrated air cooling system also comes as standard.

The issue of mine safety is attracting growing momentum in many developing mining nations according to MineARC Managing Director Paul Ness: “It’s encouraging to see the response we’ve been getting from all of our international markets. As the mining industry expands into Asia and other developing parts of the world, we’re seeing an increasing demand for heightened safety standards. At MineARC we’re proud to be at the forefront of this movement.”

For more information on MineARC’s products and services, call +61 8 9333 4966 or contact us.

 

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What is a Refuge Chamber? "Refuge chambers are sealed environments, built to sustain life during an emergency or hazardous situation. These safe havens provide a secure area with shelter, water, and breathable air, where personnel can remain until rescued or the hazard subsides." Continue reading.

From Sago to Soma: How Turkey Can Avoid the Mistakes of the United States "The Turkish mining industry would benefit from looking at the events that followed on from the Sago coal mine disaster in the US in 2006, where 12 miners died after becoming trapped underground following an explosion and fire." Continue reading.

What is Refuge Chamber Commissioning? "Refuge chamber commissioning is a vital step in emergency planning. However, it is often not considered by many sites." Continue reading.