CASE STUDY: Underground & CHPP Dust Suppression

August 18, 2021 Mining Editor

Global Road Technology – Underground Coal Mining & Processing, Bowen Basin Coal Mine QLD, Australia

OUR client is a global renowned mining and resource organisation that owns large scale, underground and open-cut mines in central Queensland. The challenges they face underground and above ground differ, although the challenge has a commonality – how to best manage coal dust suppression. In underground mining water is sprayed in order to prevent spark arrest, however performs quite badly in its secondary role as a dust suppressant. As it is conveyed, crushed, and eventually stockpiled, again water is typically used to wet the coal enough to prevent dust generation.

The client had several major concerns in relation to managing coal dust suppression:

  • Water is not working.
  • Workers are exposed to unacceptable levels of coal and silica dust in both the underground and coal handling and processing plant (CHPP).
  • Workers are also in and around the product all day, in a confined space – so the product must be very safe to be in contact with and of course non-flammable.
  • The availability of water to manage dust, and pressure to not consume natural resources also in demand from local communities and farming.
  • Above ground operations have the risk of impacting on adjacent land uses, community members, and the environment.

Why doesn’t water work?

Water and coal, particularly as fine dust, just don’t mix. This is because water has a high surface tension and also the same surface charge as coal. So like the 2 positive ends of a magnet, water and coal dust repel each other.

When the dust is travelling at the high speeds associated with shearing and even crushing, it has no chance of interacting with the coal – and in fact can further exacerbate the situation by displacing the air in front of sprayed water causing it to swirl around.

We can’t change the nature of the coal – this is where GRT: Activate comes in.


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