Ventilation conversation is in the air

The North American Mine Ventilation Symposium is back in the Black Hills for its 19th annual gathering – with delegates getting to return to in-person networking and learning.

By Donna Schmidt

The ventilation conference includes a field trip to the Sanford
Underground Research Facility (SURF) in nearby Lead, S.D.

The North American Mine Ventilation Symposium, better known as NAVMS or Mine Vent, is returning to the South Dakota School of Mines from June 17-23, with hundreds headed to the campus from all over the world.

The multi-day event begins with short courses and workshops on June 17 and 18 as well as a welcome reception on Sunday evening, and a welcome ceremony and keynote session will open – along with an exhibit hall – at 8 a.m. local time on June 19. Sessions will run each day, wrapping up at 5 p.m. June 22.

Some of the topics for paper sessions include mine ventilation case studies; computational fluid dynamics; cooling and refrigeration; dust monitoring and control; mine fires and explosion prevention; occupational health and safety; vent planning and design; and ventilation and automation. Workshops and technical sessions will be held in the classroom building, and the exhibition will be held in the King Center.

“Since the first Symposium in 1982, the UVC [Underground Ventilation Committee of SME] has sought to provide mine ventilation engineers and technicians in the underground coal, metal, and industrial mineral mining industry with the latest information and operating practices from the field and promote the exchange of ideas and research in a variety of related areas to include the monitoring of air contaminants, determining fresh air requirements, and producing power efficient ventilation and cooling systems and energy-related topics,” the organizing committee said. About 300 delegates are expected.

Some of the papers to be offered include “A Case Study in Successful Use of Spot Cooling for Underground Shaft Sinking” by M. Brown, D. Durieux, C. McGuire, D. Witow; “Development and Evaluation of Innovative Diesel Particulate Filter Technology” by J. Stachulak, B. Rubeli, D. Young, K. Watson, B. McLean; “Process Ventilation Solutions for Mitigation of Combustible and Non-Combustible Dust Hazards at Mining Operations” by J. Finn; and “Real-Time Methane Prediction with Small Dataset in Underground Longwall Coal Mining Using AI” by D. C. Demirkan, S. Duzgun, A. Juganda, J. Brune, G. Bogin. In all, nearly 70 papers will be presented at the conference event.

On Thursday, June 22, organizers from the NAMVS are hosting a field trip to the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) and Black Hills Mining Museum in nearby Lead.

“The Sanford Underground Research Facility houses world-leading physics experiments that could give us a better understanding of the universe,” facility officials said of the site, which was the former Homestake gold mine.

“SURF provides significant depth and rock stability – a near-perfect environment for experiments that need to escape the constant bombardment of cosmic radiation, which can interfere with the detection of rare physics events. The facility also hosts experiments in biology, geology and engineering. Until its closure in 2002, Homestake was the largest and deepest gold mine in North America, producing approximately 41 million ounces of gold in its 126-year lifetime.”

The creation of the facility came to fruition in 2007 thanks to a donation from T. Denny Sanford, for whom the site is named, as well as a land donation from Barrick Gold, which owned the Homestake property. The state of South Dakota formed the South Dakota Science and Technology Authority, a quasi-government entity, and subsequently committed more than $40 million to the cause as well.

NAVMS has been held every two to three years since 1982. The 18th event, while also held at the South Dakota School of Mines, convened virtually in 2021 and welcomed more than 220 guests.

Watch for post-event coverage in future issues, as NAM will be in attendance.

The ventilation conference includes a field trip to the Sanford Underground Research Facility (SURF) in nearby Lead, S.D.

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