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Mining Project: Improved Dust Control Methods for Longwall Mining

Project DetailValue
Principal Investigator
  • James P. Rider, NIOSH, 412-386-4727
Start Date10/1/2010

To develop control technologies that will reduce the most common sources of respirable dust on the longwall face, and in turn reducing respirable dust will protect the health of mine workers on the longwall face.

Program Area
Keywordscoal mine dust, control technology, underground mining

Research Summary

Laboratory testing will be conducted to define optimum operating levels for proposed control technologies and determine the feasibility of implementing advanced control techniques on longwall operations. Mine site evaluations of control technologies will be conducted as controls are developed and cooperating longwall mines are secured. The primary expected outcome of this project will be the adoption of this dust control technology by longwall manufacturers and operators who will incorporate it into their shield supports and shearer designs.

The ultimate goal of this research project is to develop and evaluate control technologies that reduce workers exposure to coal dust on longwall operations. This research will follow a systematic approach of defining the problem(s) that cause workers to be overexposed to respirable dust and then design engineering controls to protect the worker. The following four tasks will be completed to evaluate control technologies of interest:

(1) A series of tests will be run to investigate a tailgate drum spray system to reduce dust levels for workers positioned downwind of the tailgate drum.

(2) A series of tests will be run to determine if an under-the-canopy spray system, also known as a traveling water curtain, can reduce dust levels associated with shield movement.

(3) The development of a fan-powered scrubber will be investigated for use on the longwall shearer.

(4)  A comprehensive study will be initiated to determine the feasibility of using foam and air-atomizing sprays to reduce shearer dust levels.


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