Australia Aggreko has released an offering for mines going deeper with the release of its latest modular bulk air coolers (BACs).
Aggreko Australia-Pacific Managing Director George Whyte launched the latest product and said the need for deeper mines in increasingly remote locations, coupled with rising global temperatures is forcing operation managers to seek affordable alternatives to cooling and ventilation systems.
“Aggreko’s mining services pioneered mine cooling as a rental service 20 years ago as a result of mines looking for alternatives to capital refrigeration plants. Previously mining companies would need to use capital to install built-in cooling systems which were not scalable, modular or as effective,” Whyte said.
“In the past two decades we have witnessed mines becoming deeper and this has resulted in the need for larger cooling capacities and innovation. The modular Aggreko 40-foot (or 12.19 metres) mobile BAC10000s our team has created are unique and relatively new to the mine cooling market. They are scalable, portable and boast three times the cooling capacity of our previous largest offering – the 20 foot long (about 6.09 metres) containers,” said Mr. Whyte.
Aggreko Underground Cooling Sector Manager Mitch Bevan said the BAC10000s were used at a Western Australian mine last year and will soon arrive at a mine in New South Wales, Australia. Part of the new modular BACs appeal were their simplicity and convenience when compared to purpose-built onsite cooling plants.
The new BACs used a simple design involving pipes, chilled water and three axial fans all comprised in a modular shipping container. He expected more mines globally would become interested in the company’s new product offering, particularly in regions such as Africa, Latin America and North America.
“The unit is more suited for larger installations and offers improved efficiency rather than using a large number of smaller BACs. Capital refrigeration plants take a long time for mines to prepare for financially, as well as to install whereas we can mobilise on relatively short notice. A rental option also provides a great deal of flexibility, which is often crucial for underground vent systems where it is difficult to predict the requirement year on year,” Bevan said.
Bevan said Aggreko re-engineered their cooling towers to come up with the 40-foot modular BAC10000s after anticipating there would be global demand for such an offering. According to ScienceDirect, deep mining is set to become more common. Already, deep mining at 1000 metres underground is considered normal, the depth of geothermal development has reached more than 5000 metres, and oil and gas exploration has reached about 7500 metres. In the mining industry, effective ventilation and cooling is needed to keep the temperature within the sub 30 degree Celsius ‘safe zone’.