The mining industry has been the cornerstone of the Australian economy for the past two centuries. Steel is a key element used in the construction of underground mines. Typical uses include ore/coal handling infrastructure, the provision of critical services including power, water, compressed air and ventilation, plus the structural support of the underground excavations. These are several of the critical elements of maintaining a safe and productive mine.
Some of the Australian mines have particularly acidic or hyper saline groundwater, resulting in severely corrosive environments. Corrosion of steel in underground mines is a major safety concern and a considerable ongoing cost for the sometimes regular replacement of these materials. Like all things in construction, the replacement of elements is often more costly than the initial installation.
An extensive testing program has recently been completed to simulate and confirm the resistance performance of the Impreglon CDP and polyolefin coatings in these underground environments. The excellent corrosion protection of the CDP coating is well documented. Following the successful results obtained in the testing program, several mines have confirmed their intention to test coated steel materials in their underground excavations to determine their effectiveness.
Impreglon Australia has now coated materials which have recently been installed in an underground mine in Australia. The steel components used for this initial trial have a 20 micron barrier CDP coating followed by a 300 micron polyolefine layer. The expectation is that within several months the effectiveness of these coatings will be evident in the mine compared to other non-coated materials. At that point confident decisions can be made as to the extent of future usage of the coated materials within the underground excavations.
Following a successful outcome with initial underground evaluations, consideration will also be given to potentially extending the use of these coatings to other steel elements used within the mining environment.
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