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Power Distribution in Mines; Ensuring Safe, Robust Electrical Infrastructure with Mining Cables.

Updated: Jul 14, 2023

At Australian Power Equipment, we are asked a lot about Mining Cables for use in Australia. In any mining operation, whether underground or at the surface, electricity plays a crucial role in powering various equipment and systems. The electrical power required is typically sourced from either an island generating station at the mining operation or, more commonly, from the local electricity network through a primary substation with an IT earthing system. Australian Power Equipment supplies new and refurbished switchgear and transformers for these substations, to many mines throughout Australia.


It is essential to establish a robust power distribution infrastructure to ensure uninterrupted operations and promote efficient resource production. That’s where Australian Power Equipment mining cables that conform to Australian Standard AS 2802 Electric cables, have their role in powering mining equipment.


Mines require various cables;


1. Mining Cables; Robust for Challenging Conditions

Cables used in Surface and underground collieries face harsh and demanding conditions, such as roof and rib falls, standing water both on the surface and underground, fly rock and other potential causes of damage. Mining cables need to be robustly constructed to withstand the harsh environment and treatment they can receive. Furthermore, regular maintenance is essential to ensure the safety and reliability of these cables. Australian Power Equipment provides mining cables and operational strategies that ensure the reliability and durability of mining cables that are paramount for efficient resource production.


2. Distribution Cables; Evolution and Usage in Mines

In current mining operations, PVC/XLPE and LSOH insulated cables with metric dimensions are predominantly used for medium and low-voltage distribution applications. Prior to the introduction of XLPE technology paper insulated Lead sheath Steel Wire Armoured cables, PILSWA ( Metric and imperial sized) were common and are still in use today. The previous PILSWA cables were robust in design however have a significantly lower current carrying capacity AND production of Lead Sheathed cables has decreased.

Cables to 2802 are available primarily in three core + 3 earth+ pilot configurations with three-core cables being the norm for three-phase AC distribution systems on an IT earthed system with 5amp earth fault limitation utilising quick-release receptacles.


3. Cable Construction and Features.

The conductors of mining cables are typically laid up together in a spiral arrangement. The cores can consist of multi-stranded tinned copper semi-conductor layering insulated with R-EP-90. Any gaps between the mining cable conductors and central pilot core are filled with a semiconductor cradle to achieve a uniform circular section covered with an open weave braid and overall covered by heavy-duty elastomer outer sheath.


Mining cables are available in semi-conductor screened, 241 and both single-armoured and double-armoured types. The armour layers, consisting of galvanised steel wires spirally laid along the cable, serve as mechanical protection. Double-armoured cables employ a separator of compounded fibrous tape between the two armour layers, with the galvanised wires spiralled in opposite directions.


As the agent for Untel, Australian Power Equipment provides solutions to cable mining requirements in Australia. A reliable and robust electrical infrastructure is crucial for the efficient operation of mines. Mining cables play a vital role in ensuring the safe and uninterrupted distribution of electrical power in challenging mining environments. The industry has seen a shift in medium voltage cables from traditional paper insulated cables PILSWA to modern PVC/XLPSWA insulated cables which offer improved performance and longevity. Australian Power Equipment have XLPE cables In Stock.


Regular maintenance and adherence to earthing systems and regulations are essential for the safety and reliability of mining cables and personnel. By prioritising the quality and durability of power distribution systems, mines can optimise their operations and enhance coal production efficiency.



Contact Australian Power Equipment for your cable management needs at www.australianpowerequipment.com.au or info@australianpowerequipment.com.au




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