WTC 2015_Thomas Horton

Written by James Geldart, International Sales Manager.

During May of this year, MineARC was pleased to attend the World Tunnelling Congress 2015 in Dubrovnik, Croatia. With over 1500 delegates in attendance, the conference was a good opportunity to keep in touch with movements in the tunnelling industry and forge new business relationships.

MineARC would like to congratulate WTC Past President, Professor In-Mo-Lee (2010-2013), who received the Honorary President Award from the ITA. In the lecture that followed his award, Lee shared his vision for a growth in the tunnelling industry; continuing the drive of the underground construction industry to make cities more sustainable and better connected, through increased metro lines and better techniques to cope with ground water.

MineARC has been pleased to see safe refuge become increasingly common within the global tunnelling industry. Feedback during the WTC was extremely positive towards the use of refuge chambers; stemming from a more holistic understanding of the inherent dangers during the construction phase of tunnelling projects, and the requirement for a safety solution that adequately mitigates the risks involved.

Legislation has also been forthcoming. The current British Standard (BS EN) relating to Safety Requirements for Tunnelling Machinery (BS 16191: 2014) and the ITA Guideline for the Provision of Refuge Chambers in Tunnels Under Construction (2014) both officially recognize the importance of emergency refuge systems in tunnelling.

“Since the British Standard and ITA Legislation were revised to include provisions for safe refuge, here at MineARC Systems we’ve seen an increase in the number of projects coming through globally,” explains James Geldart, MineARC Systems International Sales Manager, who attended the conference.

“As a result, we have engineered a range of tunnelling refuge chambers that can comply with either the ITA or BS EN Guidelines, designed specifically for use in a variety of applications; including gantry and rail mounted models for tunnel boring machines, and standalone chambers for conventional drill and blast projects.”

The average portable MineARC Refuge Chamber typically accommodates up to 30 people, with internal life-support systems capable of providing an air-tight, safe environment for up to 96hrs (4 days). Common features of a tunnelling chamber include a fully integrated compressed air management system, CO and CO2 scrubbing, positive pressure maintenance and standalone battery Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS).

Since building its first tunnelling refuge chamber for the Dublin Port Project in 2003, MineARC has been involved in projects all around the world – developing increasingly customized refuge solutions for all the major manufacturers and contractors, including Herrenknecht, Caterpillar, Robbins, Leighton, Nishimatsu, Bilfinger Berger and Hitachi.

For further information regarding the MineARC’s range of ITA or BS EN compliant tunnelling chambers, please email