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AC tips for the mining industry

The Australian Refrigeration Council (ARC) has published a new information pack, aimed at the mining sector, called Save time, money and the environment.

Contained within the pack, which has been sent to some 200 mines around Australia, are booklets and posters that explore and highlight common air conditioning issues in the mining industry. 

These include the obligations of mine managers, the symptoms of refrigerant leaks and the subsequent problems that can be caused, and how to introduce and apply leak detection and preventative maintenance techniques.

Such advice, if employed correctly, can deliver myriad advantages – including protecting the environment from harmful refrigerant leaks, improving system efficiency and reducing downtime.

Regular inspections and preventative maintenance can also help avoid small issues from turning into major problems, saving money and time in the long run. 

The proper functionality and regular maintenance of air conditioning systems in the mining industry also ensures a comfortable and safe environment for the equipment operator, which in turn delivers its own advantages.  

ARC’s advice pack, which has been created with input from industry-related organisations and experts, also highlights the hazards of improper maintenance.  

For example, the illegal practice of topping up refrigerant systems – which in itself indicates the system is leaking – can result in the inadvertent mixing of refrigerants. This can reduce the performance of the system and ultimately lead to a costly failure.

It can be dangerous, too; on 11 January 2021, the air conditioning system of a mining truck exploded, severely injuring its driver, because it had been charged with a refrigerant containing propane and isobutene instead of R134a. 

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