Successful Refurbishment Of 13 Year Old Refuge Chamber

refuge chamber refurbishment exterior of the shelter
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The Refurbishment Program transforms damaged, worn or second-hand chambers into fully functioning, certified refuge chambers.
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MineARC’s Refuge Chamber Refurbishment Program transforms damaged, worn or second-hand chambers into fully functioning, certified refuge chambers that look as good as new.

In the first half of 2017, MineARC successfully refurbished 26 chambers. One of which was a thirteen-year-old chamber MA80 from Gold Fields St Ives, a gold mine located 20km southeast of Kambalda, Western Australia. Following a refuge chamber audit conducted on-site, MA80 was returned to MineARC Australia’s manufacturing facility in Perth. In addition, the Series II 12-Person HRM (the original MineSAFE Standard Design) refuge chamber with a free-pour chemical scrubbing system underwent a complete transformation by MineARC’s qualified workshop technicians.

Stages of Refuge Chamber Refurbishment

With there being a chance that the refuge chamber had incurred structural damage from years of sitting in the harsh underground environment, MineARC’s engineers first performed a comprehensive assessment of the structural integrity of the chamber in order to ascertain what would require full re-fabrication or just repair.

After being stripped completely of its internal components, batteries and air conditioning unit, MA80’s battery box was refabricated and the entire exterior and interior of the chamber were then blasted with a new coat of high durability white paint. This paint aids in underground visibility provides protection against corrosion and complies with AS/NZS 2312:2002.

refuge chamber refurbishment exterior of the shelter
The underground mine refuge chamber before refurbishment
refuge chamber refurbishment exterior of the shelter
A renewed mine refuge chamber heading back to site

Upgrading Compressed Air Management

The chamber was also upgraded to include MineARC’s Compressed Air Management System (CAMS). CAMS offers a number of features aimed at reducing running costs and improving operational safety during an emergency. Aside from providing clean breathable air through a superior four-phase filtration process, CAMS optimises mine air usage resulting in considerably reduced operational costs. Other features include a guarantee against over pressurisation of the refuge chamber, gas toxicity monitoring, flood protection valves for automatic mine air shut off in the event of water ingress, and an efficient filter change-out process that reduces service time.

Installing a Chemical Refuge Chamber Scrubbing System

Internally, MA-80’s Series II Scrubbing System was upgraded to a Series IV Scrubbing & Control System with Aura-FX Digital Fixed Gas Monitoring and pre-packaged MARCISORB Chemical Cartridges for superior scrubbing capacity.

The Series IV unit plays host to an intuitive digital controller interface to manage and monitor all chamber power and lighting, motion sensor logging, and an intelligent voice audio navigation (iVAN) system to guide occupants through operational procedures. MineARC’s Aura-FX Digital Gas Monitoring System features dedicated, reliable sensors, and has the ability to individually monitor up to eleven gases via a series of user-friendly, digital screens. The system includes audible voice alarms which will prompt occupants to replace scrubbing chemicals or adjust oxygen supply levels into the refuge chamber as required, reducing the risk of human error during an emergency.

refuge chamber refurbishment chemical scrubber
The Chemical Scrubber before replacement
refuge chamber refurbishment chemical scrubber
The refuge chamber chemical scrubber after refurbishment

Also included in MA80 was a new air conditioning unit, a transformer, brand new external and internal stickers and the latest operating manuals. Following the refurbishment, a comprehensive 50-Point Safety Audit was conducted to ensure the chamber is certified and meets MineARC’s stringent safety standards and those of the industry.

The MineARC Refuge Chamber Refurbishment Program is available to MineARC and non-MineARC Refuge Chambers alike, thus converting your non-MineARC chambers into a fully functioning part of your MineARC fleet.

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