Benchmarking Longwall Dust Control Technology And Practices; Preprint
Description:Significant advances in longwall mining technology and equipment have occurred over the last decade. By the late 1990s, longwall mine output accounted for 40 percent of all underground output in the U.S., and today longwall mines account for approximately 50 percent of coal produced underground in the United States. A 53 percent increase in average shift production rates has occurred over the last fifteen years. This increased longwall productivity has meant that far more dust is being produced and controlling respirable coal dust provides an ongoing challenge for coal mine operators. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) has completed a series of benchmark surveys at longwall operations across the country to identify current operating practices and the types of controls being used. Gravimetric and instantaneous dust sampling was completed to quantify dust generation from major sources on the longwall section and to determine the relative effectiveness of the different control technologies in use today. Substantial reductions in dust levels were realized at sampling locations on the face when compared longwall surveys conduct in the 1990’s. This paper summarizes the results from the underground dust surveys and discusses current longwall dust control technology and operating practices.
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