Chapter

Global Mine Accidents

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Abstract

A mining accident may simply be defined as an accident that occurs in the process of mining minerals from underneath the surface of the planet. Each year, thousands of miners die from mining accidents, particularly in the area of coal mining and hard rock mining. There are various causes for the occurrence of mining accidents, including leaks of poisonous or explosive natural gases, collapsing of mine stopes, dust explosions, flooding, or general mechanical errors from incorrectly used or malfunctioning mining equipment [1, 2]. Each year, a large number of fatalities occur in mines globally. Most of these fatalities occur in developing countries and rural parts of developed countries. Nonetheless, even in the United States an average of 93 people died in mining accidents during the period 1991–1999, in addition to an average of 21, 351 injuries per year [3]. Currently, China accounts for a large proportion of mining accident related fatalities, particularly in the area of coal mining. For example, it produces around 35% of the world’s coal and accounts for about 80% of coal-mining fatalities. Also, the worst coal mining disaster in the world occurred in China on April 26, 1942 at the Benxihu Colliery, located at Benxi, Liaoning. In this mining accident, a coal-dust explosion killed 1572 people [4]. This chapter presents various important aspects of global mine accidents.

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... Gas explosion is a serious hazard. It has taken away thousands of lives and caused severe damages to factories, buildings and transportation systems [1]. When it happens with, for example, syngas or natural gas in a closed chamber, it can destroy the chamber if a venting system or a suppressing device is not properly installed [2e4]. ...
... The maximum rate of pressure rise is defined as the highest value of pressure rise rate observed at a given fuel concentration under specific initial temperature and pressure conditions [6]. The maximum pressure rise rate is normalized with the chamber volume, V, to obtain deflagration index, (1) It is assumed that the deflagration index is constant and independent of the combustion chamber volume [7,8]. As shown in Table 1, the higher the deflagration index is, the more robust the explosion and the greater hazard level of the explosion will be [9]. ...
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Article
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... and property. According toKhan and Abbasi (1999),are caused or enhanced by methane and natural gas, as reported by a number of researchers (Ajrash et al., 2016a;Akgun, 2015;Dhillon, 2010;Kundu et al., 2016;Lee, 2003;Lowesmith and Hankinson, 2013;Market et al., 2015;Tu, 2011;Wang et al., 2014). It is important to advise that 85%–99% of natural and fugitive gases consist of methane (Gamezo et al., 2012). ...
Article
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Leger, J.-P., 1991. Trends and causes of fatalities in South African mines. Safety Science, 14: 169–185.The trends and principal causes of occupational fatalities and disasters (defined as six or more fatalities in one incident) in the South African mining industry are analysed. A miner who spends twenty years working underground faces a one in thirty chance of dying in an occupational accident. The gold mine fatality rate has improved only 33% since 1945, whereas in the coal mines it has declined substantially. Fatality rates in the diamond mines remain at levels similar to those of the 1920s. In other mineral mines the rate has increased since the 1930s. The most important cause of fatalities are falls of ground. In gold mines, rockbursts increase the fatality rate to three times the average at depths below 3000 m. Disasters remain a significant contributor to total fatalities, more disasters having occurred in the 1980s than in any other decade this century. In comparison with the accident experience of the United States, New South Wales, West Germany, India and Britain, countries with substantial coal mining industries, the South African underground colliery fatality rate is worse by factors ranging from two to eight times. Recommendations to ameliorate the high rate of fatalities include publication of improved accident statistics; elucidation of the relationship between injury rates and depth; identification of high risk occupations; special attention to be paid to the poor improvements in fatality rate trends for gold, diamond and other mineral mines; the establishment of an independent (government) deep level mining research institute; and more thorough investigations into disasters and analyses of disaster trends.
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Death from asphyxia due to substitution of air by methane gas may occur in coal mine by gas outburst. In such a case, it is required to determine methane gas contents from cadaveric blood and tissues for diagnosing cause of death and estimating conditions of the accident. The methane concentration in blood and tissue samples of 22 male victims by a gas outburst accident was measured by gas chromatography. The level of methane in the cardiac blood was in the range of 6.8-26.8 microliters/g. As a model of gas outburst in coal mine, rats were exposed experimentally to various concentrations of methane. Their course of death and methane distribution in the bodies were observed. From these findings, diagnostic criteria for asphyxia from substitution of air by methane are also discussed.
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