Authors: Saeidi, N; Romero, A; Fava, L; Allen, C


Cite As:
Saeidi, N, Romero, A, Fava, L & Allen, C 2017, 'Simulation of large-scale thermal storage in fragmented rock modelled as a discretised porous medium – application to the Natural Heat Exchange Area at Creighton Mine', in M Hudyma & Y Potvin (eds), UMT 2017: Proceedings of the First International Conference on Underground Mining Technology, Australian Centre for Geomechanics, Perth, pp. 153-165,

Download citation as:   ris   bibtex   endnote   text   Zotero

The Natural Heat Exchange Area (NHEA) is a large-scale fractured rock mass at Creighton Mine, created by previous sublevel cave mining, that is used to seasonally store thermal energy with the purpose of moderating the temperature of ventilating air for the underground mine. The use of the NHEA has avoided the mechanical cooling and heating otherwise required due to the seasonal variations in ambient temperatures. The NHEA has 96 doors through which air enters the mine airways through the mass of broken rock; these doors are manually operated to improve the tempering capacity. The empirical strategy for operating the doors has proven successful so far, but additional cooling is needed as mining progresses deeper. This paper describes two models, a three-dimensional computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model and an analytical network model. The models are calibrated to agree with the history of measured temperature, airflow and pressure at the NHEA. The calibrated models will be used together to support the assessment of both operation and systems design variations.

Keywords: mine ventilation, seasonal heat storage, Natural Heat Exchange Area (NHEA), porous medium, computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation

ANSYS, Inc. 2017, ANSYS 17.1, ANSYS, Inc., Canonsburg, viewed 29 May 2017,
Environment and Climate Change Canada 2017, Historical Data – Climate, Government of Canada, viewed 2 March 2017,
McPherson, MJ 1993, Subsurface Ventilation and Environmental Engineering, Chapman and Hall, London.
Ramsden, R, Allen, C, Millar, D & Guse, T 2014, ‘The use of natural cooling to delay and reduce refrigeration requirements’, in F von Glehn & M Biffi (eds), Proceedings of the Tenth International Mine Ventilation Congress, The Mine Ventilation Society of South Africa, Sun City, pp. 27–32.
Schafrik, S 2014, The Use of Packed Sphere Modelling for Airflow and Heat Exchange Analysis in Broken or Fragmented Rock, PhD thesis, Laurentian University, Sudbury.
The MathWorks, Inc. 2017, MATLAB, The MathWorks, Inc., Natick, viewed 29 May 2017,

© Copyright 2023, Australian Centre for Geomechanics (ACG), The University of Western Australia. All rights reserved.
View copyright/legal information
Please direct any queries or error reports to