Storage tanks – types, designs and the impact on operations

Imagine you pull into the nearest fuel station to refuel your vehicle, only to find yourself in a queue of Mining trucks filling up, and in the process, emptying out the service station before you can fill up your mere 40ltr tank.  Not quite imaginable is it? 

On average a mining truck can use 350Ltrs of Diesel fuel every hour.  Now imagine how many trips these trucks need to make to the local petrol station, and how often operations must come to a standstill while the mining truck leaves the site to fill up…

It is because of this that Mining facilities are investing more and more in on-site fuel storage facilities.  With rising electricity and fuel prices, it has become essential for mines to ensure that they optimise their refuelling processes and facilities to stay productive, as well as reducing any additional operating costs.

These on-site fuel storage facilities are designed for both above ground as well as underground and require the highest form of safety standards to ensure the safety of all of those working on the mine.  These fuel storage facilities, also known as Tank Farms, refers to an area or a facility used exclusively for the storage of chemicals such as Petroleum. It includes all of the tanks and equipment for this area.  

What type of onsite storage facilities do you find on a mine?

There are a variety of storage facilities that mines can consider based on their requirements.  The options mines often explore are:

  • Tank Farms
  • Mobile Bowsers
  • Underground Fuel Tanks
  • Single Bay Fuel Storage Units

But how are these storage facilities designed?

When a mine decides that they require a fuel storage facility or a complete tank farm, they will usually invest in the expertise of a Civil Engineer to ensure that all design plans comply with Statutory and Safety requirements.

The detail of the design will include the following:

  • Identification of storage based on the fluid that will be stored
  • Safety considerations/Statutory requirements
  • Plot plan arrangements
  • Piping Layouts
  • Material and Construction required

At all times, the safety of those on-site and safe operations are at the top of the priority list!

How do they benefit the mine?

Tank farms, the most common of all fuel storage facilities, are bulk storage facilities usually with multiple tanks segregated across the designated plot,  allowing mines access to bulk fuel, and limited downtime.

Mobile Bowsers, a purpose-built machine, is used to provide mining trucks with fuel that cannot make it back to the refuelling bay. Depending on the size of the mobile bowser, these units can carry up to 5 000Ltrs of diesel fuel at any given time.

The aim of these storage facilities is to provide the mines with safe and easy access to diesel fuel as and when required, without the possibility of shutting down production.  These facilities have had a huge impact on cost as well, helping mines save money on operating costs and services on vehicles and to eliminate unnecessary downtime.

Adding the correct fuel management solutions, mining facilities can have a firm hand on fuel usage, contaminated fuel and combating fuel theft on sites.

Whatever your refuelling and fuel storage requirements might be on your site, CMS can assist with design, installation and commissioning of the required storage facility.

Contact us today to find out more!