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21st Electrical Engineering Safety Seminar - Nov 2011

Earthing in Mines & Quarries


Expectations for Power System & Lightning performance

Phil Wall
Senior Electrical Engineer

Electrical Safety through Earthing


What are we trying to achieve? Ensuring personnel protection through safe step and touch voltages Means for appropriate circuit protection operation Overvoltage protection Voltage stabilisation Minimise energy transfer to hazardous areas (ignition sources)

Typical Earthing Systems


Two Broad Catergories
Power Systems
Main Incoming Substation (Network Earth) Earthing systems associated with the Mine or Quarry (Mine Earth)

Lightning Protection Systems


Surface Operations & Quarries Underground Mines

Assessment Criteria
Power Systems
Touch Voltages to comply with AS3007.2 Step Voltages to comply with requirements of AS2067

Lightning Protection Systems


Systems to comply with AS/NZS1768 CMHSR 2006 requirements Clause 19 part (i) subsection (ii) Is there any Touch or Step requirements?

Power System Performance


Touch Voltage limits AS3007.2-2004

Earth Grid

Voltage = Earth Potential Rise (EPR)

Fault Current

Impedance to Ground

Voltage = Earth Potential Rise (EPR)

Touch Voltage

Step Voltage

Voltage Limits
Touch Voltage from hand to both feet V V Step Voltage from foot to foot

Touch Voltage

Step Voltage

Touch Voltages
AS3007.2 curves are useful where substation EPRs are small with no impact to surrounding infrastructure. If EPRs are not small and impact to surrounding infrastructure is unavoidable: we need a more detailed approach!

How to apply wet areas? Is a 132kV system applied the same as a 3.3kV system? How does gravel in a switchyard help?
Use AS2067 with data from AS/NZS 60479.1

Calculation of Unique Voltage Limit Curves

Deterministic approach in AS2067 follows IEC 61936-1 closely

AS60479.1 Voltage Limit Calculations


Determine Body Path Impedance Determine Current through the heart for a given time

Determine Voltage limit

Body Path Impedances from AS60479.1

Calculation of Body Impedance from AS60479.1 Current Path through the body

Contact surface area: Large, medium or small Dry, wet or saltwater wet
Pressure exerted Temperature % of population (variance) Frequency of supply

Hand to hand

Tables 1 9 of AS60479.1 for a given expected voltage across the body

a.c. 50/60 Hz

Body Path Impedances from AS60479.1

Calculation of Body Impedance from AS60479.1 Current Path through the body

Contact surface area: Large, medium or small Dry, wet or saltwater wet
Pressure exerted Temperature % of population (spectrum) Frequency of supply

Tables 1 9 of AS60479.1 For a given expected voltage across the body

Add lumped resistances such as Gloves, Boots or Gravel

Touch Voltages

Determine Body impedance from tables 1-9 of AS60479.1

Touch Voltages

Add lumped resistance such as boots

Touch Voltages

Add lumped resistance such as gravel

Touch Voltages

Add lumped resistance such as gloves

Touch Voltages
Back to the earlier questions:

How to apply wet areas?


Apply a wet body impedance from tables in AS60479.1

Is a 132kV system applied the same as a 3.3kV system?


Apply a voltage dependent body impedance from tables in AS60479.1

How does gravel in a switchyard help?


Gravel acts as a lumped impedance in the shock circuit

AS60479.1 Voltage Limit Calculations


Determine Body Path Impedance Determine Current through the heart for a given time

Determine Voltage limit

Current through the Heart (AS60479.1)

Current through the Heart (AS60479.1)

Current through the Heart (AS60479.1)


Choose c1 curve

Scale for calculated impedance of body = unique touch curve

Custom Voltage Limit curve

Lightning Protection System Performance


For Power Systems, design and assessment is clearly defined: AS3007, AS2067 etc. How do we assess personnel safety limits for lightning? Typical lightning <150sec
Energy and Charge absorbed by the body

Sourced from AS/NZS 7000

Assessable Criteria
No single defined assessment criteria can be identified, however considerable focus shall be required for the following: Ensure all at risk infrastructure is provided with a suitable path to discharge lightning energy

Maximise personnel safety where possible through low ohm grids (step and touch) and equipotential bonding (hand to hand)
Minimise side-flash

Remove all potential ignition sources from hazardous zones

Coal Mines Health and Safety Requirements


NSW DPI Technical Reference EES005 states that earth electrodes provided for (lightning) must be separated from the mine earth electrodes . Required separations:
At least 3 metres in air. At least 15 metres in the ground.

For underground operations : Prevention of the effects of lightning being transferred to the underground parts of coal operation

Historic Design Requirements


NSW DPI Technical Reference EES005 states In some locations in NSW the 15m distance may be inadequate. No separation distance can be computed for buried earthing systems as no assessment criteria is defined.

Lightning Protection System Performance


For open cut and quarries , protection principles in accordance with AS1768 For underground mines, bonding principles in underground in accordance with AS1768 What about U/G Coal Mines? Additional recommendations for U/G prevent effects of lightning being transferred into underground parts of coal operation Minimisation of ignition sources in hazardous environments - by reducing transferred energy

Potential Ignition Sources


Under the right conditions a spark may occur between items of metalwork that are bonded to different earthing systems (or not effectively earthed at all). Equipotential bonding dramatically reduces potential ignition sources. It is recommended that equipotential bonding techniques are implemented in the underground environment.

Network Earth
is the Earthing system associated with the incoming high voltage supply. Irrespective of earth connection to the upstream Network substation, the Earth Fault belongs to Network substation.

Mine Earth
A need to remove the confusion around Mine Earths. Mine Earth is a designated earthing system for the electrical supply feeding surface or U/G mobile machinery. Mobile machines rely on cable screens in the supply cable and have very little local earthing. Systems are in place to control step and touch hazards from power system faults. Sometimes combined to other earthing systems especially when on the surface.

Mine Earth

Mine Earth
For U/G coal mines where additional hazards exist with ignition of gas, the Mine Earth and Lightning systems have a complex relationship . Separated systems are recommended.
Suggested definitions: Mine Surface Earth (MSE) Mine Underground Earth (MUE)

Lightning Earth
What is a Lightning Earth? An earth termination intended to discharge lightning currents into the general mass of the earth. Unless suitably protected, all surface structure can be assumed to be incorporated into a lightning earth. Examples: Product bins, Winder towers, stackouts, conveyor inclines

Lightning and Surface Earthing systems


Often difficult to separate. For underground mines, all surface infrastructure consisting of electrical circuits can be considered apart of a surface earthing system. The challenge is where this infrastructure passes into the underground workings. Buffer zones required to break conductive plant and services.

Separate or Common Earthing Systems?


Why would we separate?
Hazards to personnel and infrastructure from too many volts (EPR) on the Earthing System. Separation requirements can be necessary for lightning or power system.

Why would we separate?

Why would we separate?

Why would we separate?

Cable screens bared back

But what to do with the cable screen earth?

Why would we separate?

Cable screens bared back

Why would we separate?

Why would we separate?

Earthing, Protection and Power Engineers


Newcastle Office: Unit 4 / 11 Glenwood Drive Thornton NSW 2322 Telephone: +61 2 4964 2077 / Fax: +61 2 4964 2088 Sydney Office: Level 5 / 162 Goulburn St Darlinghurst NSW 2010 Telephone: +61 2 9265 7677 Email: contact@powerearth.com.au Website: www.powerearth.com.au