Mines and the mining industry is a very interesting area for potential use of LPG, especially due to the high fuel consumptions involved in the heavy duty off road machinery, that raise significant concerns related to health impact for the workers and the environment. Cost reduction and cost optimisation can be also a significant added benefit for using LPG.
Off-road very heavy duty dump trucks are being used to carry ore/stone on steep inclinations up from the quarry pits, very heavy duty equipment used also for the excavations. Within these pits, the concentration of NOx and other polutants is always very high. Similar is the case also in tunneling operations with underground mining equipment.
Diesel exhaust gases in a mine are a major concern for the health of the workers, both in terms of particulate matter and NOx, besides the general environmental polution produced.
In addition, significant cost reductions can be achieved by using LPG either as a single fuel in LPG dedicated engines or as Diesel-LPG mix in diesel engines.
This is an area that has not been well exploited yet but with new stricter relulations, the Non Road Mobile Machinery (NRMM) regulation in Europe and other similar developments in other parts of the world, it needs to be closer focused since it has the potential of delivering significant benefits.
LPG can fuel smelting furnaces for materials such as gold, chrome and vanadium, , furnace reline kits, crucibles and boilers.
The presence of LPG on a mining site can also ensure adequate supply of energy for power generation, burner, heating and drying solutions as well as of course cooking and hot water services for the personnel and in general all operations of mine site mess halls, kitchens, ablution blocks and other workforce amenities.
LPG can be used also for powering cutting tools on site.