Mining Project: Improved Dust Control Methods for Longwall Mining

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Principal Investigator
Start Date 10/1/2010
End Date 9/30/2014

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.

Topic Area

Research Summary

Laboratory testing was conducted to define optimum operating levels for proposed control technologies and to determine the feasibility of implementing advanced control techniques on longwall operations. Mine site evaluations of control technologies were conducted as controls were developed and cooperating longwall mines were secured. The primary expected outcome of this project was 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 was to develop and evaluate control technologies that reduce workers exposure to coal dust on longwall operations. This research followed a systematic approach of defining the problem(s) that cause workers to be overexposed to respirable dust and then designing engineering controls to protect the worker.

Under this project research, the following four tasks were completed to evaluate control technologies of interest:

  1. A series of tests were 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 were 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 was investigated for use on the longwall shearer.
  4. A comprehensive study was initiated to determine the feasibility of using foam and air-atomizing sprays to reduce shearer dust levels.

Page last reviewed: October 22, 2016
Page last updated: October 22, 2016