Report: APP CMHS Project 1

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3.4.2. Explosion Control

The Chinakuri coal mine fire damp explosion which claimed 175 peoples lives in 1958 and the Dhori mine coal dust explosion in 1965 which claimed 268 lives are considered to be the worst of the Indian mine accidents due to explosions. The recent Bhatdih mine explosion of fire damp in 2006 claimed about 50 lives. To prevent mine explosions a number of measures were prescribed in the Indian mine legislation.

Current Technologies

The prevention of explosions requires the following actions as defined in the mining regulation:

  • the provision of adequate ventilation to the mining face

  • approval of mining equipment to set standards

  • sampling and analysis of mine air

  • safety audits and inspections

  • use of experts to determine explosibility characteristics.

There is also the requirement to limit the amount of fine coal dust generated, stone dusting of roadways and construct stone dust barriers.

In addition, a system of ranking mines based on scientific data with respect to the risk of fire and explosion is being introduced in Indian coal mines. Criteria are developed based on test results of the composition of coal, mining methods and geological characterisation. An emergency response programme is then developed and implemented in accordance with the criteria developed by mine workers and management, and officials.

Gas chromatographs are currently being established in some underground coal mines for the interpretation of explosive atmospheres. The extension and application of this technology to other mines will reduce the potential for explosion.

Application Sites

There are limited resources for supply of gas monitoring equipment in coal mines in India. The technical services and resources for the monitoring and analysis of mine gases are generally co-ordinated and provided by the Rescue Services. Only imported equipment, such as telemetric system, is presently used in some of the mines in the Eastern coal field where risk of explosions is high.

Technology Gap/Needs

Monitoring of the explosive limits of the gas in the mine atmosphere and the goaf areas is to be standardised in all coal mines. Technology shifts from the traditional calorimetric analysis of gas samples to the automatic real time monitoring is required. The gas chromatographs for analysis of mine air are available at very few places and need to be a standard practice for analysis in all mines or mining areas.

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