SUNConferences, 29th Annual Conference of SAIIE

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OPTIMISING PRODUCTION THROUGH IMPROVING THE EFFICIENCY OF MINE COMPRESSED AIR NETWORKS WITH LIMITED INFRASTRUCTURE
Diaan Nell, Johan Bredenkamp, Johann van Rensburg

Last modified: 2018-10-09

Abstract


The gold mining industry of South Africa has been experiencing a decline in gold production. This decline is due to a unique set of challenges faced by this industry; encouraging deep-level mines to use existing infrastructure much more efficiently. One area offering large potential for optimisation is addressing deep-level gold mine compressed air network inefficiencies. Through addressing these inefficiencies, an increase in rock penetration rate can be achieved on the pneumatically hand operated rock drills, leading to reduced drilling times and potentially improved production figures. An investigation performed on Mine A indicated that a specific compressed air network inefficiency contributed to a pressure drop of approximately 19% during peak drilling periods. Simulations indicated that replacing specific undersized pipe sections with the correct sized pipes, would reduce the pressure drop to only 5% during peak drilling periods. The simulated solution was implemented and resulted in a peak drilling pressure increase of approximately 62 kPa. This supply pressure increase translated into a potential production increase of approximately R 11-million per annum.


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