Fuel storage

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Due to fire and efficiency concerns, diesel fuel is primarily used underground, and it is usually advisable to develop a centralized fuel storage system. In shallow or small mines, fuel storage and refueling facilities can be located on surface with diesel delivery underground through boreholes. Conversely, in deep mines with multiple levels, storage containers on pallets are commonly used for ease of movement throughout the mine (Bullock, 2011). In mines with shaft access, fuel is usually batched on surface at an equal or slightly lesser capacity to the underground fuel tank. This batching exercise must follow a procedure that ensures the underground fuel supply borehole is completely gravity drained after each batch (Cline, 2011).

The biggest consideration for fuel storage is the design and maintenance of an appropriate retaining wall and other control devices in order to contain the liquid in the event of a tank rupture. To avoid potential leaks or spills, diesel and other hydrocarbons should always be stored in double-walled tanks. Another major consideration is the provision and monitoring of proper ventilation around areas where fuel and lubricant is stored. Conventional drilling and blasting methods are generally used to create fuel and oil service bays if they are not part of the existing service shop excavations. (Cline, 2011)

Regulations in Ontario and BC state that fueling stations and oil/grease storage areas should be located separately from service garages, and incorporate a sill or curb to contain spilled fluids. The areas are required to be equipped with a non-flammable door, which shall be self-closing in the case of fuelling stations. Oil and grease storage areas are required to have a two-hour fire resistance rating. Finally, smoking is strictly prohibited in both locations (Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources - Mining and Minerals Division, 2008). Figure 1 below, shows a fuel and oil storage excavation that is close to the main underground shop.

Figure 1, Fuel and lube storage area, near main underground shop (Morin, 2015)


Bullock, R. L. (2011). Subsurface Mine Development. In P. Darling, SME Mining Engineering Handbook (pp. 1203-1221). Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME).

Cline, J. (2011). Construction of Underground Openings and Related Infrastructure. In P. Darling, SME Mining Engineering Handbook (3rd Edition) (pp. 1223-1253). Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration (SME).

Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources - Mining and Minerals Division. (2008). Health, Safety and Reclamation Code for Mines in British Columbia. Victoria: Province of British Columbia.

Morin, M. (2015). Personal Files.

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