Mar 27, 2024 / by IQ News Update

IQ Derbyshire: Exploring the underground storage of explosives in mines

Explosvies in mining - Blog header

Assessing the suitability of a location for underground explosives storage entails a comprehensive understanding of the potential consequences of an accidental detonation and the subsequent blast propagation through tunnel systems.

During a recent event, the IQ Derbyshire Branch welcomed Dr. Mark Pegden, HM Specialist Inspector Explosives Inspector from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), to delve into the intricate topic of the underground storage of explosives in mines.

The event aimed to facilitate knowledge sharing within the minerals industry and provide a networking opportunity among members. Dr. Pegden's expertise gave valuable insights into best practices and safety considerations regarding underground explosives storage.

Dr. Pegden explains:

"An underground magazine explosion has the potential to be catastrophic. HSE has led to the development of a unique approach to model the consequences of a detonation and to determine essential safe separation distances."

Drawing from his extensive experience, Dr. Pegden provided a background into the evolution of licensing protocols for explosives storage, emphasising the importance of international benchmarks in determining safe distances. He meticulously outlined the factors involved in evaluating the safety, focusing on shockwaves and air overpressure dynamics during unintended explosions. Notably, Dr. Pedgen explored the construction of NATO Guidelines for underground ammunition storage, leveraging original data from 1975 to develop a new model at the Health and Safety Laboratories (HSL) in Buxton. 

The innovative model, rooted in historical data but adapted to contemporary standards, serves as the cornerstone for licensing explosives storage underground in the UK. By integrating past knowledge with modern methodologies, Dr. Pegden and his team have established a robust framework to ensure the safety and integrity of underground explosives storage facilities.

John McGough FIQ is the Chair of the IQ Derbyshire branch. John adds:

"It was great to invite Dr Mark Pegden back to the branch to talk about the extensive work he has been doing on the underground storage of explosives. In his role as HM Specialist Inspector, Mark has presented to the Derbyshire branch on many occasions in the past and never seems to lose his enthusiasm for the industry, and if you pardon the pun is a mine of knowledge and understanding. It was great to see a large and varied audience for his presentation."

The evening's proceedings provided attendees with a captivating journey through the intricacies of explosives storage safety, underscoring the significance of revisiting foundational data to inform present-day practices. Dr. Pegden's presentation reinforces the industry's commitment to continuous improvement and utilising cutting-edge tools and models to enhance safety standards.

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