Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

B. Belle, Real-time air velocity monitoring in mines - a quintessential design parameter for managing major mine health and safety hazards, 13th Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong, The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy & Mine Managers Association of Australia, 2013, 184-198.


Mines should be safe places in which to work. These safe places are achieved by means of natural and mechanical means of ventilation. Air velocity is a quintessential ventilation design parameter in diagnosing and ascertaining the adequacy of ventilation for managing mine health and safety hazards. Although Australian coal mines are recognized as being the safest mines in the world using both real-time and tube bundle monitoring systems, monitoring of airflow at critical locations in real-time is glaringly deficient and poor ventilation monitoring practice. This paper discusses the needs for real-time velocity monitoring and the implementation benefits of it in mines. What is an acceptable velocity measurement error in the carbon era? Current carbon emission guidelines do not clarify the measurement challenges associated with air velocities, let alone air velocity accuracy. Historically, there are references to acceptable measurement errors ranging from ± 5 % to ± 20 %. Measured differences in monthly ventilation surveys against the real-time airflow monitoring were found to be 13.3 % resulting in annual carbon costs of A$580 000 for a CH4 level of 0.2%. It is considered that, it is never too late to implement real-time velocity monitors in Australian mines, a safety enabler and a leading practice in the mature mining world.