Longwall dust control-where we are and where we need to go in the 21st century.
Longwall USA, 1998 Jun; :123-138
Although the number of operating longwall mining systems in the U.S. has remained relatively constant over the past five years, U.S. longwall production levels have increased significantly during this period. Longwalls account for over 40% of U.S. underground coal production. While longwalls are highly productive and offer other advantages, operations employing this method of mining continue to experience dust standard compliance problems. Increased longwall productivity has meant that far more dust is being produced. Recent research has lead to an improved understanding and advancement of longwall face ventilation and water application systems, and machine design and operation. However many changes, such as lower dust standards and new equipment designs and operations, are appearing on the horizon that will require further research emphasis and investigation, as well as more attention to secondary dust sources and emerging technologies. The Dust and Toxic Substances Control Branch, of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health's Pittsburgh Research Laboratory (NIOSH-PRL), in partnership with industry and labor, has examined several basic principles of longwall face ventilation techniques. An optimum water management system has been designed for longwall faces that should ensure that an adequate and appropriate quantity of water is delivered to a properly designed shearer water-spray system to effectively control dust levels at longwall operations. Modification in machine design and cutting sequence have been developed to effectively reduce the amount of dust produced, as well as the respirable dust exposure of most longwall face workers. Data is presented that documents the overall impact of this technology throughout the U.S. industry. Discussions have been held with industry representatives, machine manufactures, labor, and regulatory agencies in an attempt to identify those issues of concern that research must continue to address. Results of these discussions, and the required focus of longwall dust research in the 21st century will be presented.
Mining-industry; Underground-mining; Coal-mining; Mine-safety; Ventilation; Coal-dust; Dust-control; Control-technology
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Pittsburgh Research Laboratory, Pittsburgh, PA 15236
Other Occupational Concerns
Longwall USA, International Exhibition & Conference