Mining Publication: Status of Dust Control Technology on U.S. Longwalls
Longwall mining is the most productive method of underground coal mining in the United States (U.S.), and record levels of production have been reached in recent years. These ever-improving production levels have the potential to generate significantly higher quantities of respirable dust. Consequently, the longwall industry continues to struggle with controlling dust liberation and maintaining compliance with the federally-mandated respirable dust standard. In response, longwall operators have increased the application of primary dust controls, airflow and water flow, in an effort to improve respirable dust control and reduce worker exposure. NIOSH conducted dust surveys at 13 longwalls operating throughout the U.S. and collected information to: identify current operating practices on these longwalls, identify the types of dust controls in use, document the levels at which these controls are being applied, and measure the respirable dust levels present. This data was analyzed to quantify the dust levels generated by the major sources on the longwall section and to evaluate the relative effectiveness of the control technologies in use.