What is Coal Dust Suppression – Exposure to dust is a serious health threat to workers in many industries.

In coal mining, exposure to coal mine dust can lead to coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP). CWP, commonly called black lung disease, is a lung disease that can be disabling and even fatal. In addition, miners can be exposed to high levels of silica dust, which can cause silicosis, another disabling and/or fatal lung disease. There is no cure for CWP or silicosis. Additionally, coal mine dust exposure increases a miner’s risk of developing chronic bronchitis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and pathologic emphysema. Data for 2000–2006 for US show an increase in CWP cases. Almost 8% of examined underground coal miners with 25 or more years of experience were diagnosed with CWP. Therefore, coal dust suppression measures are crucial to prevent development of these diseases.

The following practices can help in coal dust suppression along roadways:

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  • Limitation of vehicle movements, removal of stoppings, and delivering/unloading supplies. This would, however, slow down production and transportation processes.
  • Application of water or hydroscopic compounds to support coal dust suppression. The moisture content of the haulage surface should be approximately 10%. Hydroscopic compounds such as calcium and magnesium chloride increase roadway surface moisture by extracting moisture from the atmosphere. The precondition for the method success is high enough air humidity. Hygroscopic salts are corrosive and thus negatively affect vehicles.
  • Usage of surfactants. Surfactants such as soaps and detergents dissolve in water and can help maintaining the needed moisture content of the road surfaces. Surfactants act by decreasing the surface tension of water, which allows the moisture to wet more particles per unit volume.

When it comes to coal dust suppression during transportation, the usual practice is coal wetting. However, the water easily evaporates and rewetting of the coal is necessary at multiple intervals. Additional measures for coal dust suppression within production and transportation processes are expensive ventilation systems, which are not very efficient.

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Global Road Technology specializes in the design, development and maintenance of haul roads. Haul and access roads on mine sites endure the majority of mining activity and movement. Heavy machinery, high traffic usage and harsh weather conditions mean these roads must be robust, resilient and flexible. GRT’s revolutionary products and processes provide coal dust suppression while also repairing and controlling soil and surface deterioration. They are effective on all soil types, keeping roads open, improving driving conditions and eliminating potential health threats posed by fugitive dust. GRT products differ from commonly used suppressants since they provide stable high quality road and highly efficient coal dust suppression.

When it comes to raw material stockpiles, whether they are in movement or not, GRT’s polymer-based mixture provides an exceptional liquid tarping solution – suppressing up to 95% of dust particles. The process works by amalgamating the small particles of coal on the surface of the pile, with the polymer to create a thin layer of stable bonded material resistant to wind and rain erosion. This prevents particles becoming airborne as fugitive dust. Polymer solutions can be applied directly to raw materials using water trucks, and existing or bespoke spray bar systems and gantries. Designed for the tough conditions of the resource sector, the product does not alter the burning properties of coal and can cost as little as 4.5 cents per tonne.

For more information on Global Road Technology please contact GRT.