Having a safe and efficient Fuel and Lubricant Dispensary in close proximity to the working faces was the overarching remit from our client on a project the IMEC team were recently engaged to support with. This is all the more important when considering this particular underground mine is one of Australia’s deepest gold mines with works originally commencing in the late 19th Century!

The facility IMEC designed, included a Refuelling Bay, a Service Bay, as well as an office with adjacent stores and light vehicle parking bay. The entire facility was built on a concrete apron, and included perimeter kerbing to ensure safe containment of any spillage to a catchment sump for treatment.

The sump itself featured an oil-water separator (OWS) to treat captured water, and allow separation of hydrocarbons. Doing so prevented these chemicals them from mixing with the site dewatering system when the sump was drained. IMEC designed the sump to maximise retention time and be easily cleaned and a concrete hand-railed walkway was provided for safe access to the OWS.

Refuelling underground comes with its own challenges and the risk of fire is ever-present, especially when dealing with combustible fuels such as diesel. So to minimise potential ignition sources in the facility, we designed the equipment to use compressed air as the primary energy source. A fire suppression system was also included as part of the design to cover and protect the entire facility.

Ventilation control during operation as well as during emergencies was also considered. The facilities location, in close proximity to a Return Air Raise, means fumes from the facility discharge directly out of the mine and the ventilation equipment designed to react accordingly in the event of emergencies.

One unique design criteria for this project was the requirement to consider potential ground squeeze as part of the design. To account for this, our design included a ‘expansion corridor’ around the entire concrete apron perimeter. This will protect the facility from any ground movement for many years to come.

This fit-for-purpose design will stand the test of time and last well into the future, thus ensuring that this mine continues producing safely right through this century too.