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 Post subject: Gases in hard rock underground mines?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:22 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:58 pm
Posts: 6
Location: BC Canada
Howdy folks!

Just curious what typical gases can be found in underground hard rock mines (Iron, copper, gold, silver mines)? Do you typically carry a multi gas detector or a detector based off one of the commonly found gases. Please explain.

Thanks!

C,


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 Post subject: Re: Gases in hard rock underground mines?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:18 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:53 pm
Posts: 270
Location: Ringgold GA
It really depends on what part of the country you are in. Some. Of the iron mines around here will make a geiger counter go nuts. There is the possibility of methane from decomposing materials but not as bad as in a coal mine. The most common problem would be carbon dioxide or black damp.

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 Post subject: Re: Gases in hard rock underground mines?
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 2:23 am 
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Joined: Thu May 04, 2017 1:54 am
Posts: 10
Location: SE Missouri
I realize that this is a very late reply, but that it would be useful information to have:

This chart should give some idea of potential hazardous gases:
http://miningquiz.com/2013_Coal_Contest ... sChart.pdf

The primary threat in underground hard rock mines, aside from oxygen deprivation, is hydrogen sulfide. It is a decomposition product of sulfide ores and minerals such as galena, pyrite, and sphalerite, and smells like rotten eggs. The real issue with the stuff is that it is water-soluble, and will liberate out of stagnant water if the water is disturbed- do NOT disturb stagnant water when underground in hard rock mines! H2S can be smelled at 0.01-0.015ppm. You start encountering physiological effects around 2-5ppm, such as eye tearing, fatigue, headaches, nausea, or conjunctivitis (gas eye). The TLV set by OSHA is 20ppm. I got "nuked" by a combination of H2S and black mold at a lead-zinc mine in New Mexico after standing in front of the gated portal, taking photographs of the main haulage drift for a few minutes and relaxing for a few minutes. My eyes were burning and tearing up for several hours after that- it was NOT a pleasant experience. The fact that I'd been up since 0415 that morning (got some sleep on the road) and driven through a nasty ice storm in the Texas panhandle may have had something to do with it. Some research later indicated that the mine's entire second level was full of gas as early as the 1920s, and a vent raise was never constructed as best I could tell.


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 Post subject: Re: Gases in hard rock underground mines?
PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 4:47 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jan 22, 2010 1:15 am
Posts: 38
Location: McConnico, Arizona
I dont know how true that really is. Theres water in a couple of my mines and ive had no problems with what you are describing. I have shovelled out small cave-ins and stuff with stagnant water in-between the cave-ins and was in there for hours shovelling and did not get effects such as that. I do recall ONE mine i was in some time ago where i felt lightheaded but it was not because of the water, it was because lack of oxygen from way back in the mine and too many cave-ins i had to crawl over. It was then i immediately left the mine. Since then the mine was 'barred up' and closed.
Once you start feeling lightheaded, IMMEDIATELY make a U-turn and head back out. Sometimes you may feel the lightheadedness effects while sometimes you may not.


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 Post subject: Re: Gases in hard rock underground mines?
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 3:53 am 
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Joined: Thu May 04, 2017 1:54 am
Posts: 10
Location: SE Missouri
It's far from guaranteed that H2S will be encountered in stagnant water, however, it's the most likely place to suddenly encounter hazardous quantities of the gas. Did the mine you were mucking out have any sulfide ores, or was it just free-milling gold? H2S is only encountered in sulfide ores or when other environmental conditions introduce it into the mine atmosphere.

Believe me, H2S in mine water is no joke. The conditions just have to be right for it to occur. A friend of mine spent a summer driving haul trucks at a deep limestone mine in Kansas City. The mine crossed one or more underground saltwater rivers with significant H2S content. She chose not to, but a bunch of the guys working there wore gas detectors to give them a warning if levels exceeded the TLV.


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 Post subject: Re: Gases in hard rock underground mines?
PostPosted: Wed Nov 22, 2017 12:36 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:20 am
Posts: 17
Location: Tampa, Florida
Hmm, I'll be taking note of these for future reference.


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