Size reduction and sorting of ore-bearing material is a part of almost every mineral extraction and preparation process. This activity is accomplished through some combination of crushing, milling and screening steps. The very nature of these treatments involves the transfer of energy to the ore; and almost always generates airborne dust. Control of the dust generated by these operations can be achieved with proper analysis of the sources, identification of appropriate control technologies, and consistent application and maintenance of selected controls. Uncontrolled airborne dust can create operational, environmental and worker-health concerns. Airborne dust becomes a health concern when it is present in sufficient quantities (based on the toxicities of its constituents), when it is of a size that can be inhaled deeply into the lung (termed 'respirable') and when it produces a harmful effect on deposition in the lung. For mineral processing, exposure to quartz (crystalline silica) is often an occupational hygiene concern. Quartz is a very common mineral in the Earth's crust and inhalation of respirable quartz can lead to multiple serious diseases in humans. This article focuses on prevention of occupational illness among workers through control of dust exposure, but the approaches discussed will contribute to reduction of detrimental operational and environmental consequences as well.
Mining-equipment; Dusts; Dust-suppression; Dust-control; Dust-control-equipment; Dust-exposure; Mineral-dusts; Mineral-processing; Work-operations; Airborne-dusts; Control-methods; Control-technology; Engineering-controls; Respirable-dust; Worker-health; Quartz-dust; Silica-dusts; Environmental-control; Environmental-control-equipment; Disease-prevention; Equipment-design; Equipment-operators; Machine-operation; Administration; Personal-protective-equipment; Dust-collection; Dust-collectors; Grinding-equipment; Grinding-mills; Mining-industry