Underground Mine Environment 2: Environmental Contaminants

Areas of Study: Mining

Qualifies for CMS

Qualifies for Certification

This course covers environmental contaminants encountered in underground mines—gases, airborne and explosible dust, fires, and radiation.


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  • Audience Level:
  • Professional
  • Enrollment:
  • Required
  • Duration:
  • 25 hours

Course Summary


Underground Mine Environment 2: Environmental Contaminants is the second course in the Underground Mine Environment series of courses based on material developed by Mining Education Australia, a national joint venture initiative between the University of New South Wales, the University of Queensland, and Curtin University of Technology. The course gets into the details of mine gases, detection systems and data interpretation, as well as hazards that have a direct impact on mine ventilation, such as dust, mine fires, and radioactivity.

Part 1 provides an overview of mine gases encountered in mines (i.e. their properties, sources, and physiological effects), dealing with flammable and explosive gases, and gas laws.

Part 2 covers gas detection systems used in underground coal and metalliferous mines, methods of interpreting data and reporting, and issues affecting the installation and operation of gas monitoring systems.

Part 3 deals with airborne and explosible dust—properties and behaviour of dust in the atmosphere, physiological effects, measuring concentrations, sources, control, and dusts that may form explosive mixtures.

Part 4 deals with underground mine fires—the causes of fires and explosions, types of fires and their detection, effects on the ventilation system, firefighting and control, and evacuation and refuge.

Part 5 provides a brief summary of radioactive theory required to understand the behaviour and control of radon in mine ventilation circuits, and then describes how to design ventilation circuits that control exposure of the workforce to radon progeny in underground mines.

Course Content

Underground Mine Environment 2: Environmental Contaminants is structured in five parts and a total of 32 viewing sessions of approximately 30–60 minutes each, plus course reviews, appendices and extensive references. Current course duration is equivalent to approximately 25 hours of viewing content.

Learning Outcomes

  • Identify mine gas properties and gas laws.
  • Identify instruments used to monitor gas composition in underground mine atmospheres and issues arising from their use.
  • Identify the hazards and methods of controlling airborne dust.
  • Identify the hazards and methods of controlling of mine fires and explosions.
  • Identify the behaviour and methods of controlling radon in ventilation circuits in underground mines.

Recommended Background

  • A degree or diploma in mining engineering or related discipline.
  • Experience as a ventilation officer or similar position at an underground mine.

Mining Education Australia

Welcome to Mining Education Australia (MEA), a unique collaborative venture that delivers more than 85% of Australia’s annual graduates from mining engineering degree programmes.

MEA comprises the University of Adelaide, the University of New South Wales, the University of Queensland and Curtin University. These four universities deliver a common curriculum for years 3 and 4 of the Bachelor degree in Mining Engineering.

MEA is an initiative of and supported by, the Minerals Council of Australia (through its Minerals Tertiary Education Council), membership of which includes 48 of Australia’s leading mining and mining services companies.