The underground mining environment is unquestionably harsh. Confined spaces, minimal ventilation and underground vehicle emissions can compromise air quality underground. Systems that monitor air quality underground are critical for the health and safety of employees, as well as the environment.

Poor underground air quality has negative impacts for the environment. This microenvironment and the mobile machines operated there cause exposure to strongly polluted underground air, which adversely affects the health and working performance of the underground mine workers. Inhalation of particulate pollution is associated with health risks including heart disease, strokes, lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

In underground mines, mobile mining equipment is critical for the production system. Unfortunately, such equipment subsequently compromises the air quality underground. Air pollution is caused by solid and liquid particles and certain gases that are suspended in the air. These particles and gases come from underground mobile equipment and any other moving machinery exhausts.

Addressing underground air pollution

The Mine Health and Safety Council did a study titled Develop Methodologies for the Measurement of Diesel Exhaust Emissions (DEE) and Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM). Thescope of the study was to identify existing techniques that could be adopted to detect DPM in the environments with restricted ventilation such as in underground mining working sites.

According to the study, current technology has made solutions available to provide continuous monitoring of harmful, ambient concentrations of DEE and DPM in underground mining environments. DisproTech SA has a range of products and services that monitor diesel engine emissions.

The company is able to conduct a diesel combustion analysis. Analysing the exhaust stack of diesel engines is important for maximum fuel savings and extending engine life. In addition, scientists and doctors continue to find possible links between fossil fuel exhaust emissions and many different health-related problems.

Another service offered is predictive failure analysis and preventative maintenance. Over time, wear and tear on diesel engines can be determined through emissions testing. However, through data analysis and advanced pattern recognition, preventative maintenance and predictive failure can be presented. This can save millions in lost production.

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