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New protective chamber for deep mines developed at Luleå University of Technology

Saving lives in deep mines

Published: 1 September 2014

A new type of protective chambers for miners in deep mines have been developed at Luleå University of Technology. The concept is so innovative, that it is expected to be a reality for the global mining industry. The authors: Ten students at the Programme in Industrial Design Engineering

Many of you probably remember the news report from the collapsed San Jose mine in Chile four years ago. In two months, the 33 miners, were trapped 700 meters underground before they were rescued, one by one, a process, that alone, took more than a day. It is that mine accident and the like that have been the starting point for students at Luleå University of Technology when they created a new type of protective chamber.

Moreover, the mines of Europe, will be much deeper in the future, down to 3000 meters, so that we get access to the minerals found, which increases the need for technical solution for the safety of the miners.

- Just in time as we were doing our project, there were two major mining accidents in the world with trapped miners in Turkey and South Africa. It further confirmed the need for our refuge chamber, said Therese Persson, a student at the Programme in Industrial Design Engineering, at Luleå University of Technology

Winning concept

In deep mines, there are often high temperatures. Rescue work is complicated and can take a long time. In the new refuge chamber miners should survive for up to five weeks. The two new core ideas, are that the refuge chamber is mobile and can be moved to the right areas of the mine where security is most needed, and that it has a carriage with access to water, oxygen and batteries.

- In addition, we have started from the idea that the very design of the environment inside the refuge chamber is important in lighting, color selection and placement of beds and seats.

Student projects have been undertaken in collaboration with Aachen University in Germany. The project is part of the European research project I2Mine, with a total budget of 250 million.

- I am convinced that some of our students' concept for refuge chambers will be manufactured for the global mining industry. The two basic ideas, are so good, says Jan Johansson, professor at Luleå University of Technology.

Dennis Pettersson

Dennis Pettersson, Chaired Professor

Organization: Industrial Design
Jan Johansson

Jan Johansson, Professor

Phone: +46 (0)920 491412
Organization: Human Work Sciences, Human Work Science, Department of Business Administration, Technology and Social Sciences