The Influence of Ventilation Modeling on Production Planning
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Abstract The main objective of a ventilation system is to provide the quality and quantity of the airflows throughout the mine and to ensure safe and health conditions for the workers to the level specified by the mining regulations. In uranium mines the planning and operation of the ventilation systems have a large impact on production due to the fact that the first engineered step to control radiation contamination is with ventilation. The techniques used to maintain good air quality in uranium mines are based on providing very large volumes of air, maintaining the residence time of the air at a minimum in all working areas, guaranteeing zero recirculation of the air and designing a highly flexible ventilation system. This thesis introduces a general approach that can be use in ventilation planning for uranium mines and outlines the importance of conducting medium and long term ventilation planning exercises. Case studies are presented to illustrate the use of ventilation modeling software, spreadsheets, scheduling software and mine design software in order to manipulate data in ventilation planning exercises. The results from these exercises will indicate any required additional infrastructure. A section of this thesis deals with simulation exercises used for validation of the design work. Once the new infrastructure is in place and access to reliable field date is available, the models are calibrated and validated to permit further refinement of the ventilation system. This work has demonstrated how one can effectively design, asses and manage underground mine ventilation systems with the help of ventilation modeling software, when such a tool is properly used through calibration and validation exercises. The methodology for the reconciliation between ventilation and production planning proposed in this thesis will assist the uranium mining industry in maintaining the health and safety of the workers underground while efficiently achieving economic production targets.