Dust suppression in mines producing coal involves a process were superactivated water is sprayed to saturate the coal face and intercept fugitive dust particles to immediately coat airborne particles, forcing them to drop out of suspension in the air. As opposed to using water alone, superactivated water for coal dust suppression does not alter the burning properties of coal or quality of products as it works through targeting and mitigating coal dust particles in longwall and continuous mining operations. Dust suppression in coal mines also takes place in haul mine roads predominantly over long hauling distances in which coal is transported within the confines of the mine. The system uses existing or readily available equipment such as existing spray systems and water lines, water trucks, dust suppression tanks, cannons, dust suppression nozzles and overhead spray bar systems. Global Road Technology (GRT) is a world leader in innovative dust suppression technology that helps overcome the global challenge of creating safer roads and workplaces for people, industry and communities. Its dust suppression products also assist in making surfaces within mining, construction, infrastructure and farming projects stronger, longer lasting, as well as more cost-effective and environmentally responsible. Dust suppression in Australia at coal mines in Central Queensland will be evaluated from the key concepts of dust suppression in coal mining, with mention of the specific mines in Central Queensland and summed up with some of  Global Road Technology undertakings in Central Queensland mines with emphasis on the product used in the coal and haul road dust suppression projects

Global Road Technology has extensively built a global footprint in the coal dust suppression area over the past decade with its sphere of influence in Australia very seasoned in the dust suppression space. The approach taken by Global Road Technology to dust suppression combines innovation and value for money with solutions enabling cost savings and environmental consideration of products utilized from cradle to cradle from a life cycle assessment point of view. The context of the discussion takes a closer look into Central Queensland with dust suppression aimed enforcing legislative measures in projects in the interest of worker safety and health, communities within the vicinity of coal mining activities and the environment at large. Whether it is airborne or in solution, coal dust poses a great risk with some of the details to the challenges of coal dust highlighted in our industry articles focused on the importance of dust suppression in coal mines. The main aspects of dust suppression in coal mines include the analysis of why coal dust is so risky, the challenges in managing coal dust and industry best practice related to the different Global Road Technology practical solutions that are tailor-made to best suit any coal dust suppression need to the satisfaction of the client. 

The coal mining industry in Central Queensland comes with a detailed history of the different mines in Central Queensland which has also been addressed in our industry article which focused on How dangerous is coal dust? Part One – A Historical Look at Coal Mining in Queensland. The Moranbah North Coal Mine is a coal mine in the Bowen Basin at Moranbah in Central Queensland, Australia. The mine has coal reserves amounting to 261 million tonnes of coking coal, one of the largest reserves in Asia and the world. The longwall mining operations at the mine began in 1998. Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance operates seven Bowen Basin mines namely Goonyella, Riverside, Broadmeadow, Daunia, Peak Downs, Saraji, Blackwater and Caval Ridge and also owns and operates the Hay Point Coal Terminal near Mackay. The Peak Downs coal mine is located in the Bowen Basin of Central Queensland and is currently the country’s biggest coal mine by recoverable reserves. The open-pit mine has been producing high-quality hard coking coal since 1972 and was estimated to hold 718 Mt of recoverable coal reserves in the previous year. The Bowen Basin covers an area about 600 km long and 250 km wide extending from Collinsville in the north to south of Moura in Central Queensland. It contains about 70% of Queensland’s coal. The Bowen Basin contains the largest coal reserves in Australia. This major coal-producing region contains one of the world’s largest bituminous coal. The Basin contains much of the known Permian coal resources in Queensland including virtually all known mineable prime coking coal. It was named for the Bowen River, itself named after Queensland’s first Governor, Sir George Ferguson Bowen

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Global Road Technology has had the privilege to operate in Central Queensland with work conducted at the Hall Creek and at the Bowen Basin coal mine. The work performed by GRT at Hall Creek was on a large scale, long life open cut mine in Central Queensland. Transportation of coal reserves included hauling operations over 70 kilometers with an average width of 20 meters. The key issues that Global Road Technology had to mitigate included reduction in visibility on haul roads owing to vehicular generated dust, respiratory and environmental impact of uncontrolled dust, the high expenses of running water trucks coupled with the potential need to purchases additional trucks to keep dust under control with water alone, the water scarcity and resource constraints with other sectors in the community and regulatory compliance. Global Road Technology provided solutions to the challenges faced by providing a sustainable, environmental and economical solution for managing and suppressing dust on the mining operation haul roads. GRT: Haul Loc a specially formulated liquid polymer was added to watering trucks to reduce the amount of water required for continuous dust suppression. The results obtained through use of GRT: Haul Loc included reduction in use of water alone by up to 50% with extension of dust suppression effects four to five fold longer than when water was used alone. GRT: Haul Loc offered the client water saving, dust management percentage reduction and improved dewatering activities which increased ease in production and efficiency in mining operations. 

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Quantitative and qualitative results from the Global Road Technology operations at the Hall Creek in Central Queensland yielded the following:

  • Increase in the turnaround time before reapplication of the dust control products
  • Increase in the total treated area by 250%
  • Annual cost savings of more than $1,2 million per caterpillar 777
  • Increase in productivity 
  • Water savings 

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REFERENCES 

Better dust control needed in Central Queensland Mines retrieved 29/01/21

Central Queensland mine dust levels ‘under control’ after limits breached retrieved 29/01/21

Bowen Basin Coal Mines retrieved 29/01/21

Aren’t we in a drought? The Australian black coal industry uses enough water for over 5 million people retrieved 29/01/21

Mines in Central Queensland retrieved 29/01/21