In 2023, we understand water alone is not the ideal way to suppress dust. 

But it wasn’t always so clear.

Until recently, water was the go-to for dust control in mining and industrial applications, as no other viable option was available. And when water wasn’t doing the job, the only real option was to increase its volume or reduce the amount of product passing through or operational work being done. Both of these are short-term solutions.

In fact, in some instances, water alone can exacerbate dust, causing more problems than it solves.

And as water scarcity becomes a global issue and companies come under more pressure to minimise its use, a modern dust suppression solution is required. One that maximises the efficiency and effectiveness of water molecules while offering minimal environmental impact and a non-flammable format. Enter water treatment options designed to tick all the boxes needed by mining, resources and industry, including protecting the environment and local water stores.

Let’s investigate a specific case study.

Are environmental regulations, health and safety concerns or potential profit loss a concern right now?


Water Treatment in Coal Mining

Respirable particles of coal and the harmful crystalline silica dust are present throughout above and below-ground mining operations. Considering the potential hazards, it’s no surprise that managing these particles is priority-one for coal miners across Australia and worldwide.

Traditionally, underground coal mining has primarily used water as a spark suppressant and then as a dust suppressant.

Unfortunately, a job that water is poorly suited to. And in turn, exposing workers to significant levels of dust as the product is conveyed, crushed, and stockpiled.

Because, as it turns out, water and coal just don’t mix.

This is due to water’s high surface tension, which is matched by coal dust, so like opposing forces, the two repel each other rather than attract.

Further, In highly dynamic situations such as the longwall or above-ground crushing scenarios, the high speed of air and dust movement can displace water spray before it reaches its target. This is where a sophisticated water treatment solution comes in.

A solution like GRT: Activate.

A product designed and manufactured in Australia to super-activate water droplets, changing their surface tension to quickly surround dust particles and even attract them.


Water Treatment in the Modern Era

As a concentrated additive, GRT: Activate gives water the dust-suppressing superpowers it wished it had. When treated with the product, water can totally encompass a coal dust particle and simply drop it from the atmosphere.

But what about spark suppression, the primary concern for underground coal miners?

Activate takes care of that as well.

Depending on the density of particles and the associated risks, Activate can be dosed from 1:1000 to 1:5000 parts, providing a complete barrier against sparks.

GRT has developed the product to be environmentally friendly, non-toxic and biodegradable with a low carbon footprint. During verified testing at one of Australia’s leading universities, Activate outperformed its American rival by up to 100%, proving 12 times more effective than water alone.


At a glance, here are some of the benefits of GRT: Activate.

  • Reduces respirable dust levels 2x to 5x
  • Almost complete removal of visible dust 
  • Water optimisation – making water work
  • Intrinsically safe and ok to be around daily
  • Easy on equipment, non-corrosive and congealing


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Water has generally been the go-to for dust suppression in heavy industry applications. But as requirements change and environmental demands become paramount, new and more effective solutions are required.

Water treatment options are changing the game in coal mining situations, where respirable dust is an ever-present threat. And GRT: Activate is Australian-designed and manufactured for the harshest conditions.

It’s also been proven to offer dramatic improvement as a water treatment in coal mines, above and below ground.


Learn more about GRT: Activate here: Activate Underground!