Khumani iron ore mine

February 2013 Fire & Safety

Assmang’s Khumani iron ore mine, situated 30 km south of the small town of Khatu in the Northern Cape, required an upgrade on all its conveyor belt and substation fire detection and suppression systems.

Bhubesi Fire projects was awarded the project and decided to use the Spectrex 40-40 range of IR3 flame detectors for the conveyor belts. Due to the harsh dusty environment, the Technoswitch-manufactured air purge unit was used. This unit was perfect for the job as it uses large filters to ensure that clean air is supplied to the flame detector. All these units reported back to the Technoswitch conventional range of fire panels, these have proven themselves time and time again in harsh environments and are very reliable.

When asked why Bhubesi Fire Projects chose the SP40-40 range, Feizel Samodien, the operations director, comments: “The brief from our client DRA in providing a flame detector with the capabilities to perform efficiently and reliably in a harsh mining environment presented a few challenges, which were successfully overcome by the selection of the Spectrex 40/40 IR3 units. The specific application requirements included long range detection (60 m), immunity to false alarms and extreme durability for detection of conveyor belt fires at Khumani iron ore. The system design philosophy also required the 40/40 to act as the primary initiate to facilitate the operation of a water deluge system designed to suppress any potential fire hazard associated with the belt and its mechanical components. Low response times and the sensitivity range of the 40/40 unit made the unit an easy choice to fulfil the stated requirement. In conclusion , a perfect fit for a purpose flame detector with great features and value added benefits for our project.”

As the continuity of business in all mining applications is critical, included in the scope of work was the fire detection and suppression in the substations. In order to provide the best and earliest forms of smoke detection, the Vesda range of aspirating smoke detection products were used. These units were used in-cabinet, allowing any smoke to be detected at the source and before any serious damage occurred. For room detection, the Apollo Orbis range of conventional optical smoke detectors were used. With the dust defy feature on these detectors, they were the best option to be used in this harsh environment.

All the detectors were monitored by the Technoswitch range of conventional fire panels and the TEC047 gas control unit was used to ensure that the suppression would be activated when needed.

The project is now moving onto the second and third phase and due to all the success achieved in the first phase the equipment has become the mine standard.


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