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Voisey’s Bay mine takes unconventional approach to fire suppression

Several Canadian airports, including Halifax, are also using Rosenbauer’s Panther.

Fire and emergency response vehicle manufacturer Rosenbauer, and global engine manufacturer Volvo Penta spotlighted the advantages of Rosenbauer Panther aircraft rescue and firefighting (ARFF) vehicle over traditional structural trucks at last month’s MINExpo in Las Vegas. The Volvo Penta-powered Rosenbauer Panther is gaining attention in the mining industry for its speed, agility, acceleration, dependability and overall performance.

A case in point is the recent collaboration with Vale’s base metals business on a new Panther fire apparatus for the Voisey’s Bay nickel mine. Vale will utilize Rosenbauer’s 6×6 Panther to in the remote, northern location. 

“Our Voisey’s Bay mine site in Labrador is a remote fly-in/fly-out mine site,” said Patrick Boitumelo, head of mining and milling with Vale’s North Atlantic operations. “We experience inclement weather, travel on dirt roads, and have limited water supply in certain areas of site, so we need a fire truck that can respond to any emergency in a challenging environment. We believe the new truck can handle anything from an aircraft emergency to a 777 fire and site accommodations fire safely.”

The Panther is built for off-road use has the ability to extinguish a fire considerably faster than standard over-the-road structural trucks used at most mining operations. The power behind the vehicle is Volvo Penta’s reliable 16-liter, 522-kW engine that is compliant with the latest Tier 4 Final emission standards.

The Panther is equipped with a Rosenbauer N80 pump that can discharge up to 9,000 liters per minute a distance of over 100 meters. In addition to the significant increase in discharge capability over structural units, the Panther also has 1,500 liters of foam onboard that is specially designed for fighting fuel fires and 225 kg of dry chemical agent used for fighting difficult three-dimensional fires expected from the massive mobile equipment used at mines. Each of these agents can be discharged as the Panther is arriving at the fire by a single person from inside the cab.

The Panther also has the ability to pump while in motion. Its Volvo Penta D16 engine powers both the fire pump and transmission to give these vehicles their unique pump and roll capability – something structural fire trucks don’t offer.

What makes the Panther particularly special is the perfect integration of its chassis, superstructure and extinguishing technology systems, which not only creates maximum driving dynamics, but also safety and reliability. The uncompromising 6×6 all-wheel-drive system with rigid axles and coil springs designed for off road use gives a smooth ride even over rough ground and accessibility to almost any location on a mine site.

(This article first appeared in the Canadian Mining Journal)