A recent article in engineering.com detailed five of the top reasons to use fabric structures for mining.
Mining is one of the oldest industries, stretching all the way back to the very beginnings of human civilization. Of course, the technology for mineral prospecting, extraction and processing have advanced considerably since the Paleolithic era. Modern mining utilizes advanced technologies such as gravity gradiometry, robotics and even autonomous vehicles.
With impressive tools like these, it’s easy to overlook one of the most important parts of any mining operation: the site infrastructure. Nevertheless, none of these technologies is worth its salt (pardon the play on words) without adequate shelter.
This aspect of mining may not seem to have advanced as much over the years compared to other technologies, but fabric industrial structures show this is not the case.
Although fabric structures have a variety of applications, here are five of their principal advantages in the context of mining.
1) Cost Effectiveness
Cost is a crucial factor to consider when setting up a new mine. Compared to similar metal structures, fabric buildings can often be erected at a significantly lower cost.
“By the time you include construction, we’re the same price or 20-30 percent less than conventional [metal] structures,” said Ben Fox, president and CEO of Legacy Building Solutions. Moreover, even when the construction cost of a fabric building is equivalent to a steel one, the former can still be more cost effective in other ways.
For example, the fabric’s translucency cuts down on lighting costs. However, it’s in repair costs where fabric buildings really shine. “Our fabric is made in individual panels—typically 20 feet wide—and attached individually to the frame,” explained Fox. “One of the benefits of that is that the panels can be individually replaced, which is a lot less inconvenient and less costly for the customer.”
According to Fox, this means that repair costs can be as low as USD$2 per square foot for fabric structures, compared to $7 per square foot for steel buildings.