Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
Process plants, underground conveyors, static and mobile plants, draglines, workshops, substations, monitoring control rooms, and switch rooms all have the potential to be fire dangers on a mining site. It is common for mines to contain costly and essential equipment that works around the clock in very hostile settings, such as enormous, isolated, and difficult-to-reach mines. Fixed fire suppression systems are often the best option for safeguarding high-value assets, ensuring the safety of employees, and ensuring the continuation of operations.
As a result of the fierce competition in today’s market, the fire protection sector is under considerable pressure to offer systems that meet or exceed regulatory requirements. When it comes to fire safety, too many people think of it as an expense rather than an investment in company continuity. If a fire shut down high-value assets, such as essential mining infrastructure, the consequences might be devastating. Minimal compliance is cheaper than real-time monitoring systems, but the danger is more outstanding. Damage to a company’s reputation due to downtime costs more than the cost of installing a monitoring system.
A fire suppression system may be divided into sprinkler systems and liquefied gas systems such as FM-200, Novec 1230, or CO2 clean agents. Leakage from the former is possible, but the latter’s physical stresses make it more damaging. According to regulations, the extinguishing chemical contained in cylinders must be inspected every year. Dismantling each of the cylinders and weighing them is the conventional approach. It might take hours and a team of experts to conduct a thorough investigation. Anecdotes of faulty practice include low-wage service staff that is inexperienced, untrustworthy, and unreliable. It has also been reported that shady businesses would randomly inspect some of the cylinders and then affix “tested” stickers on all of the others that haven’t received any testing.
Mining activities might be compromised if there aren’t enough firefighting chemicals on hand to put out a fire. These systems, which are crucial to the operation’s safety, should be continuously checked. They’re left alone for 364 days a year until their yearly certification check, and they’re entirely unsupervised.
A copper mining firm in Zambia was one of the companies that looked into the market to discover a more convenient, precise, and effective way to evaluate its fire system. Copper is produced regularly by this well-established and expanding mining operation.
The chief of instrumentation found Portalevel ultrasonic technology. One person is needed to determine the amount of the agent in the cylinders, making service more efficient and requiring just one person. The system does not need to be shut down or dismantled. The system’s integrity is preserved. There is no additional danger to persons or facilities by shutting down the design for the length of maintenance checks when testing is carried out in situ. A heavy equipment maintenance specialist in Canada, which employs Portalevel Max technology to maintain fire suppression systems on massive mining equipment, is another firm that has implemented less expensive, quicker, and better technology. Thus, the organization may conduct a more complete and safe examination. Using only one Portalevel Max to serve four different locations saves the service provider money and time.
The importance of safety is increasingly being recognized, and it can no longer be ignored. Regular inspections and even 365-day monitoring are becoming increasingly common in the sector. Confidence in the system’s integrity is provided by the capacity to monitor autonomously, with remote diagnostics and remote relay that may issue an alert to the fire safety officer or facilities manager. Long-term company continuity, downtime savings, and expensive pay-outs from fire damage may all be improved by reducing fire risk.
There are still fires, and they’re a threat to business continuity and people’s lives, but they’re avoidable. More and more mining companies realize that fire suppression systems may be adapted into existing mines to protect their assets. Meanwhile, we must keep educating and leading so that no more lives are lost or critical assets harmed. It is now possible for mine owners and operators to enhance their fire safety management and limit the risks to human life and business continuity caused by any downtime, hence reducing the risk to corporate reputation and cost.