Stainless saves lives underground
Explosions. Carbon monoxide. Fire. Underground mining can be hazardous. Yet regulations in the mining industry have developed since the first mine rescue personnel began rescues more than one century ago.
What initially began with giving miners self-contained breathing apparatuses for use in cases of emergency has expanded into laws requiring self-sustaining emergency shelters able to withstand four days in a case of fire or other disaster occurs when it is not possible to escape from the underground conditions.
These mine rescue chambers have been required by the US federal regulatory agency for mines since 1977. Other countries, including Finland, have adopted similar laws. These emergency shelters must be properly sealed and ventilated and erected at locations throughout the mine.
10 people, 100 hours
Heat-it Oy from Rovaniemi, Finland, is one maker of these stainless steel cabins. Their Respetra rescue chambers, available in two sizes, are used for example in mines in Kittilä and Kemi, Finland, as well as in underground construction sites in Oulu and the Helsinki area.
Entirely independent, the chambers have room for up to 10 people to live in for 100 hours in emergency situations. The chambers, with curved walls that provide protection against pressure and gases, are made of Outokumpu’s high-chromium Core 4622 ferritic stainless steel. They are gas tight, produce their own breathing air and secure the basic conditions for survival.
Stands up to pressure relief
Stainless steel is practically maintenance free, which leads to low life cycle cost. In addition to good corrosion and heat resistance, weldability, deep-drawability and machinability, Outokumpu Core 4622 is cost efficient and offers value for customer. “Outokumpu 4622 is a natural choice for rescue chambers because it is a perfect fit for demanding environments such as mines that have high humidity and corrosive substances. Stainless steel is practically maintenance free, which leads to a low life cycle cost. Stainless steel surface doesn’t require any coating and therefore the air in the rescue chamber stays fresh. Outokumpu 4622 is technically very suitable for the rescue chamber due to its good combination of strength and toughness and can thus handle pressure relief well,” says Juha Kela, Product Manager for the Outokumpu Core range.
“We chose Core 4622 as it offers us the required technical properties with a better price. I am very pleased with the cooperation with Outokumpu,” says Pekka Kilpeläinen, CEO of Heat-It Oy.