Question: Are you using a Hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) Blast Bag as an air deck in the Mining Industry?
What are Hydrofluorocarbon’s (HFC’s)? HFC’s are chemicals that contain hydrogen, fluorine, chlorine, and carbon. They deplete the ozone layer but have less potency compared to CFCs. Many HCFCs are potent greenhouse gases. HCFC-22 is the most common refrigerant in the Australian refrigerant bank are now making their way into the Australian Mining Industry through cheap imports that do not have to adhere to the current legislation, hence making it dangerous for Mining experts out in the field.
Little to no education is out there in understanding the bulk contribution caused to Global Warming and our environment when using HFC blast bags. Emphasis to the phase-down of HFC has been directly pointed at more commonly used equipment such as Air conditioners for commercial and residential use, as well the automotive Industry. Licensing and high governing regulations are in place with very complex waste management controls, fines do apply for offenders who are non-compliant!
Imported HFC134a blast bags simply fly under the radar as a bulk import and rawness given to their application, including associated risks and disposal methods in eliminating exposures!
A good blast may attain the 3,000 deg C temperatures in the initiation zone for only 1-2milliseconds, insufficient to produce the decomposition required under the Montréal protocol, with strict guidelines to waste disposal through a plasma arch unit of 3000 deg C for 20 milliseconds. This clearly identifies not every blast can be guaranteed to decompose HFC 134a, meaning approx 300 ton of HFC134a blast bags sold in Australia with a GWP of 1430 could morph in blasting to as much as 1.3million ton of carbon equivalents per year! Fume can also be the result of incomplete combustion of explosive guaranteeing partial decomposition of HFC in blast bags, not to mention releases that can’t be visually observed? The term Bulk contribution no doubt now has a whole new meaning!
Blast bags used in applications of top hole bagging, gamma logging/bore hole logging where current methods of disposal are piercing the bag in a ventilated area is a “complete disregard” to direct and unregulated exposures and governing protocol for waste and risk management.
Answer: No doubt now is a good time to check! Check your Blast Bags today!