Report: APP CMHS Project 1

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3.3.2. Explosion Control

In 2007, explosion incidents occurred 37 times (36 gas explosions, one coal dust explosion) in Chinese coal mines, and resulted in 468 fatalities. In 2008, 19 explosions (gas) occurred with the loss of 165 lives.

Current Technologies

To reduce or eliminate the risk of the explosion of gas and dust, a number of preventive measures have been undertaken and relevant technologies have been developed and applied in the coal mines, including:

  • Real time online gas monitoring systems are installed in every coal mine in China to monitor CH4 and CO concentrations in key working locations, the concentrations of CH4 and CO in mine workings are not allowable to exceed certain values set by the Chinese government.

  • Elimination or isolation of fire sources is required.

  • Main dust reduction techniques include water infusion in coal seams, mist and water spraying during coal cutting and transportation, and dust scrubbers fitted to major mining equipment.

  • Explosion suppressing techniques include passive and active measures. Passive measures in use include stone dust barriers and water barriers installed in roadways. Active measures in use include automatic explosion suppressing devices which detect early signs of flame and explosion, then trigger the release of high concentration explosion suppressing inert gas or chemical mist to stop and prevent propagation of the explosion.

  • Roadway stone dusting, whilst practiced in the past, is now not as prevalent and has been replaced with stone dust and water barriers.

  • Tube bundle systems are widely used in the Chinese coal mines to monitor CO, O2, CO2, CH4, H2 and C2H4.

  • Belt monitoring systems, such as KJS5000A belt temperature monitoring system developed by China Coal Research Institute, are also widely used in the Chinese coal mines to continuously monitor temperature along the belt and record at the central control room in the mine.

Application Sites

There are about 50 manufacturers of gas and dust monitoring equipment in China and about 60 products of monitoring systems for fire and explosion ( The system consists of gas sensors installed in various underground locations, data transmission devices, main control in the control room on surface and other accessories. Gas chromatographs are being introduced at some large mining operations.

Technology Gaps/Needs

Development of active automatic explosion suppressing devices is needed to detect early signs of flame and explosion and trigger the release of high concentration explosion suppressing inert gas or chemical mist to stop the propagation of the explosion of gas or dust.

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