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The challenges rivalling those facing the engineers developing early space flight are those faced by today's mining engineers. South Africa's Gold mines are getting deeper, with workings below 4,000metres becoming a possibility. 

A major task is developing air cooling to allow the miners to work in tolerable conditions.  Without innovative solutions to tackle the problem heat exhaustion and heatstroke are real hazards.

Conventional surface based cooling is not sufficient for the depths required and combined surface and underground solutions will be needed.

The air heating resulting from *autocompression, is one of the problems to be overcome. 

Ice delivery is an emerging technology which looks very promising.

Hopefully some passive cooling techniques can be developed to mitigate the escalating cost of energy.  Supplying factory processes that require medium grade heat are another consideration. 

Another application related to mining is the long term underground storage of Nuclear Waste.

*Air taken from the surface and then sent down to the workings will experience a compression.  This means that although the volume of air has been reduced, the amount of heat remains the same resulting in hotter air.

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