Mine ventilation planning is becoming critical to the production and safety of coal mine operations in Australia.
Temporary closures of coal mines in NSW and QLD due to inadequate ventilation systems has highlighted the need for longer term planning for ventilation shaft installations.
Increased frequency of conferences dedicated to mine ventilation planning and systems have provided forums for ventilation professionals and managers to share knowledge and new technology.
Blind boring is a highly innovative way of drilling ventilation shafts, especially for coal mines, as the shaft is completed ahead of the underground development.
This allows the underground operation to focus totally on development and production without the conflicts of managing ventilation priorities for underground contractors, mucking operations or scheduling for man and machinery entry.
This is very relevant for new mine developments when they are operating on drift ventilation.
Blind boring is the safest method of shaft development as all of the activities are completed from the surface.
The shaft remains full of drilling fluid during the drilling and lining phases and is only dewatered on completion.