What is Refuge Chamber Commissioning?

Refuge chamber commisioning

Commisioning a refuge chamber for use in underground mines India.

By Nic Stone, Business Development Manager, South-East Asia

Your refuge chamber arrives – congratulations on making an informed choice for your site. What happens next?

Refuge chamber commissioning is a vital step in emergency planning. However, it is often not considered by many sites.


Commissioning is a quality-focused process necessary to ensure the site is critically equipped for an emergency. The process involves ensuring that the refuge chamber remains in perfect working condition, following delivery and installation.

Occurring at the time of install is critical, on occasion, a chamber may not be placed underground upon immediate arrival to site. Commissioning upon installation ensures the chamber is connected and positioned correctly, meeting the safety requirements of MineARC systems, site, and an active emergency response plan.

Commissioning addresses the following critical areas:

  • Verify correct installation of a refuge chamber at each unique mine site
  • Improve employee understanding and coordination of maintenance
  • Ensure efficiency and effectiveness of a refuge chamber
  • Certify the refuge chamber is emergency ready

No two mine sites are the same, and as a result, a MineARC representative will travel to the location to personally ensure the chamber is set up and installed to our high standard. While on-site, they will also provide operational training to key personnel responsible for the chambers.

MineARC recently visited Hindustan Zinc Limited Rampura Agucha in India to commission their newest refuge chambers. MineARC’s Nic Stone and Dion Smith commissioned four chambers on the site; all MineSAFE Compact Designs, with flushing airlocks.

chamber commission HZL India

Commissioning occurs once the chamber is installed in its correct place.

The pair was able to assess the condition and installation process of the chambers; certifying each refuge was emergency ready and fit for purpose. In addition, they delivered operational training to over 30 employees and contractors on site, divided into smaller groups. 

One of the most beneficial aspects of MineARC being on-site is improving staff knowledge and understanding of refuge chambers. The valuable face-to-face interaction opens the ability to go through any enquiries, unfamiliar elements and points of contention.

Nic states “As a trainer, I see firsthand the impact training has on employees, they feel more at ease with the technology and equipment, and the open communication builds their understanding. Operational training is very valuable.”

A fully commissioned refuge chamber and trained staff are the best assets to any organisation during an emergency.

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