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An Investigation into the Development of Thermal Management Policies for Underground Metal Mines in the United States
AuthorO'Connor, Laura C.
AdvisorKocsis, Karoly C.
Mining and Metallurgical Engineering
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Safety, health, and productivity at the mines greatly depend on the quality of the underground thermal climate. The costs associated with a substandard thermal work environment can be significant. Within the last decade, sliding commodity prices and pressure on mine operators to increase production output resulted in increased mechanization and intense work rates. Consequently, the quality of work conditions in underground mines have declined due to contaminants generated during production operations as well as heat and humidity, which has been transferred to the mine air from mining equipment and other heat and humidity sources. Based upon this, improvements in respect to the underground climatic conditions are much needed. This thesis aims to discuss the steps that are required to develop a heat management policy for underground metal mines in Nevada, while reviewing heat studies aimed at controlling the underground thermal climate. Selecting an appropriate heat stress index, regular monitoring of temperature and humidity of the mine air in production stopes and dead-end developments, an adequate method of heat mitigation, along with a training program for the underground workforce are some of the necessary steps that can be defined in an effective thermal management policy. The challenges and constraints that are considered for the development of a thermal management policy for underground metal mines will also be covered. A thorough investigation into the health and safety culture of underground mining will be conducted, along with a review of risk assessment and how this pertains to managing heat, as a contaminant, at underground metal mines in the Western United States.