Dust suppression in mines
Australia produces approximately 6% of the world’s coal and nearly 80% of our coal comes from open cut coal mines (compared with 40% globally).
Open cut mines produce a number of challenges in relation to dust control and air quality due to the inevitable production of respirable sized dust,
Respirable dust (PM10) refers to dust which is typically less than 10 microns in size. Invisible to the naked eye, respirable dust is the type of dust which can cause everything from vision impairment to major health risks such as black lung disease.
Sources of respirable dust in mines
The largest source of PM10 in mines comes from haul trucks travelling along dirt roads (40%).
However other sources of dust can include:
- Wind erosion of overburden (27%)
- Bulldozers (8%)
- Blasting (6%)
- Dumping overburden (4%)
It is the responsibility of mining companies to deliver comprehensive dust control solutions in order to meet Ambient Air Quality NEPM standards.
This is essential for preventing harm to the health of both workers and the wider community.
There are two ways to control fugitive dust in mines
You can ‘nip it in the bud’ with a low pressure (< 10 bar) dust prevention system. This type of system uses large volumes of water at close range to contain the errant dust. Being low pressure, the water droplets are much coarser, so this is more accurately described as a wetting system rather than a misting system.
And/or you can utilise a dust suppression system which conversely uses lower volumes of water at high pressure (> 50 bar). A dust suppression system adds a fine atomised mist to the air and thus captures and subdues dust particles that are already airborne.
The benefits of using dust suppression in mines
- Reduces respirable dust by 80%+
- Reduces visual dust
- Minimises water usage
- Minimises conveyor slippage
- Eliminates excessive moisture content in material
- Reduces chute blockages
- Improves housekeeping standards
- Increases safe work areas during operation
Dust suppression and dust prevention systems can be used together
Low pressure dust prevention is used in approximately 81% of underground mines and 96% of open cut coal mines, however this approach alone does not effectively minimise emissions.
When it comes to dust suppression in mines, it’s important to be aware that dust suppression and dust prevention systems are not exclusive. In fact, many mines use both systems to effectively control dust.
No one knows more about dust suppression in mines
With over 100 fully customised and purpose-built dust suppression systems in use globally, from conveyors to transfer stations, Dust-A-Side is an acknowledged leader in this field.
All of our dust suppression systems are triggered by remote control sensors and programmable logic controllers with fully automated, self-cleaning water filtration systems.
The pump modules are constructed from industrial grade components and are UL and CE rated for utmost performance and reliability.
Due to the harsh operating environments experienced in the mining industry, Dust-A-Side Australia’s systems are fully enclosed, air conditioned and come complete with dust-proof components.
Hydrowet helps to break the surface tension of water particles, leading to smaller water droplets (between 5 and 10 microns) that attract dust particles to them, via agglomeration.
This process is particularly effective when managing hydrophobic materials such as coal and other fine ores.
Dust suppression, prevention and control from pit to port
Dust-A-Side Australia is the only Australian company that provides complete and integrated Dust Control Management solutions that have been proven to increase productivity and safety, unlock cost efficiencies for your operation and benefit the environment.
This “one-stop” dust management shop delivers the most operationally sound and cost-effective solutions across your entire mine site – “from pit to port”.
Our solutions can be used in a wide range of applications such as semi-permanent roads, temporary roads, underground work areas, laydown facilities, exposed areas as well as stockpiles.
For more information about any of our proven products, simply click here to get in touch.