What are the potential effects of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide for miners?

Mine gas refers to various harmful vapours produced during mining operations. Carbon monoxide (white damp) is a particularly toxic gas; as little as 0.1% can cause death within minutes. It is a product of the incomplete combustion of carbon and is formed in coal mines mainly by oxidation of coal, particularly in those mines where spontaneous combustion occurs.


Monitoring and removing excess carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide is, therefore an essential aspect in the mining environment. Both gases have potentially harmful effects on occupants if the gases are not sufficiently removed. In sealed environments, like mines, the natural by-products affecting inhabitants include carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide which can build up and poison the air.


In high enough concentrations, both CO and CO2 can cause serious injuries, leading to loss of consciousness and eventually, death. Removal of these harmful gases is, therefore, a critical necessity for any mine chamber especially if the mine’s air fails or becomes compromised.


Carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide are often mistaken for one another. Both gases are odourless and colourless, target the cardiovascular system and can enter the body through inhalation, skin and/or eyes. They also cause similar symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and hallucination.


For further information regarding carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide, please contact us at Guduza System Technologies.


For more information about COVID-19 please visit: COVID-19 Corona Virus South African Resource Portal