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Video: Gas leak in mine, Oman’s Environment Ministry investigating
December 11, 2018 | 4:06 PM
by Sheikha Abdullah Al Maqhusi
 
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Muscat: A gas leak at a mine in the Wilayat of Shinas was caused by an increase in temperature and the self-heating of water inside the mine, according to the director of the Earth Sciences Research Centre at Sultan Qaboos University.

“There is a need to examine the rising gases and water vapour for the possibility of containing sulfur gases,” said the director of the Earth Sciences Research Centre at Sultan Qaboos University.

The Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs (MECA) has taken samples from the location as part of an investigation, and the results have not yet been announced.

In a statement the Ministry said, “The ministry has sent a specialised team, with the aid of the Public Authority for Civil Defence and Ambulance and the Public Authority for Mining, as well as a representative from the Shura Council, in cooperation with a consultancy, with the goal of discovering the nature of the gas and collecting samples.”



Professor Subhi Jaber Nasr, the Director of the Earth Sciences Research Centre, provided a scientific explanation of this phenomenon, noting, “There are a group of factors contributing to self-heating, temperature increases and the formation of hot spots in mine areas. Thus, heating the water in the mine’s surface and the cracks in its depths become steam that rises into the atmosphere with the effect of increased steam pressure.”

“These factors cause atmospheric humidity, increases in air temperature and oxygen uptakes, increased particle sizes, greater amounts of metal sulfides, greater ambient temperatures, and rising pH,” Professor Subhi said.



“The increase in temperatures may lead to spontaneous and automatic combustion of metals, which is normal and may be difficult to control,” the professor added.

“Most of the active sulfuric materials in surface and underground mines have been left for a long time, exposed to rapid oxidation, and then subjected to self-heating that raises temperatures above 100 ° C,” he said.

“Previous studies on copper sulphide mine residues have shown that moisture in the air and ambient temperatures can be enhanced in the process of self-combustion of metal sulphides in those mines, especially if the self-heating and reaction of these minerals with water in the mines, due to rains and rising water levels, especially when there is a significant proportion of oxidised iron sulphides.”

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