Utilization and Implementation of Geothermal Systems and Ground Source Heat Pumps for Underground Mine Cooling


Kyle Scalise, University of Nevada, Reno; Marcelo Teixeira, University of Nevada, Reno; Karoly (Charles) Kocsis, University of Nevada, Reno; Keith Robertson, Barrick Goldstrike

Many deep and highly mechanized underground metal mines require cooling.  In many cases, appropriate working conditions might be fulfilled by ventilation alone, but some require the implementation of cooling systems.  The most common cooling systems are bulk air cooling and localized cooling.  These systems are effective, but they use considerable amounts of electricity.  Ground source heat pumps (GSHP) can supplement existing cooling and heating systems, while geothermal systems can cool the mines in their entirety if there are significant sources of geothermal energy are present.  A major advantage of geothermal and GSHP systems are their renewability, which reduces the carbon footprint of the mine.