As MMG people know only too well, underground mines are hot work sites. Heat is generated from surrounding rock, equipment and diesel fleet operating deep below the surface. Anyone who works in Cloncurry – outback Queensland – knows that Summer temperatures can soar.
That’s why Dugald River mine is designing, supplying and installing a $20 million cooling solution that will bring 9.5MW of bulk air underground to facilitate ongoing zinc extraction.
MMG Dugald River General Manager, Tim Akroyd, said consistent temperature control is critical for the safety of the mine’s employees and contractors working in north-west Queensland’s hot climate.
“MMG has sourced a long-term refrigeration plant and ventilation system designed to deliver a safe work environment for our teams,” he said.
“To sustain mine production at a depth of 500 metres below ground, cooling is essential and dramatically improves air quality. Mine ventilation firm, BBE Consulting, helped to scope options that are now spearheading MMG’s cooling works that are well underway, planned for completion by early 2022. The cooling system will be operational for the life of the mine, a period of up to 20 plus years.”
The scope of work covers the installation of 9.5MW bulk air-cooling capacity, with a centralised refrigerative plant with distributing water circuits to the south and north mine. Water-cooled custom mine chillers, bulk air coolers, cooling towers and ancillary equipment are being deployed.
Water-cooled refrigeration machines have a lower capital project cost and use less power over a 20-year project life, when compared with air-cooled refrigeration machines.
Suppliers and local contractors include CivilPlus Constructions, GNH Engineering, Bell Rural Contracting and Total Generators in Cloncurry to name just a few.