Monthly Archives: November 2020

Global Record of Mining Land Use

Enjoy today’s article and have a wonderful day!

Global Record of Mining Land Use

Researchers compile first-ever global record of mining land use

Source – Mining Technology – By Matthew Hall

“The first comprehensive, global-scale dataset of the geographical area used for mining activities has been released by researchers from Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Vienna). Satellite imagery has been used to create a global record of land used for mining.

The first comprehensive, global-scale dataset of the geographical area used for mining activities has been released by researchers from Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU Vienna). Satellite imagery has been used to create a global record of land used for mining.

The research was undertaken by lead researchers Victor Maus and Stefan Giljum, from WU Vienna’s Institute for Ecological Economics.

“One of the main challenges to assess the impacts of the global mining sector has been the lack of geographical information on the extraction sites,” said Maus.

There are already databases on the mining sector’s activities, but these focus on commodities production, and none offer a global-scale account of the land area used for raw material extraction. Using satellite imagery, the research team used visual interpretation to create the data set that covers more than 6,000 mining sites around the world, all of which had mining activity taking place between 2000 to 2017.

The researchers outlined more than 21,000 mining areas – referred to as “polygons” – using satellite data. All told, those 21,000 polygons form a comprehensive visual data set covering a total area of 57,277km2

This information can be used to improve environmental impact assessments in the mining industry, and can also be used to form a benchmark for further monitoring of global mining activity.

Stefan Giljum said: “In an era of rapidly-increasing global demand for many metal ores, for example for electronic products or renewable energy technologies, information about the environmental consequences of mining is indispensable to achieve more sustainable production and consumption patterns.”
This new record could contribute to wider ecological awareness and accountability in the mining sector – last week, Willis Towers Watson published its Mining Risk Review and highlighted environmental risk as being the largest barrier to insuring mining assets over the next decade and beyond.

The data set could also be used to monitor mining-induced deforestation or fragmentation as well as degradation of ecosystems, in addition to other environmental issues. It may also provide solace for electric vehicle manufacturers, as questions have been raised over the ethics and environmental practices of battery metal producers.”




Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Karoo Deep Drilling

An interesting read on the drilling being done in the Karoo Basin.  Enjoy!

Karoo Deep Drilling

Council for Geoscience starts deep drilling in Karoo basin

Mining Weekly – Source

September 2020 – Marleny Arnoldi

“The Council for Geoscience (CGS) on September 21 launched Phase 2 of the Karoo Deep Drilling and Geo-environmental Base Programme (KDD), in Beaufort West.

The council, as mandated by the Department of Minerals and Energy, in 2016 initiated the research programme to investigate the resource potential of the Karoo basin, which is anticipated to have between 30-trillion and 500-trillion cubic feet (tcf) of shale gas, and possibly uranium, methane or coal resources, according to the Petroleum Agency of South Africa.

The United States Energy Information Administration in 2013 estimated that South Africa has the eighth-largest shale gas reserve in the world, at about 390 tcf of technically recoverable shale gas.

The KDD programme is also targeted at identifying the potential environmental impacts that could arise from shale gas development in the Karoo.

The KDD will provide scientific evidence to inform policy development and regulatory frameworks on shale gas exploration and extraction, which CGS CEO Mosa Mabuza says can be a significant addition to South Africa’s energy mix and the economy as a whole.

Shale gas is a natural gas consisting primarily of methane and about 20% higher hydrocarbons, such as ethane.

Finding domestic gas feedstock will diversify South Africa’s energy mix and reduce carbon emissions. However, South Africa cannot make an environmental assessment of the Karoo’s shale gas exploitation by hydraulic fracturing within the current legal framework.

Therefore, the KDD serves as a baseline study for future shale gas research work and plays a vital role in the review of petroleum regulations.

Phase 2 of the programme involves CGS establishing a geo-environmental baseline and putting in place environmental monitoring mechanisms.

The council had contracted Major Drilling to undertake drilling for a 3.5-km-deep vertical stratigraphic core borehole over the next 10 to 12 months. This borehole is aimed at intersecting the formation earmarked to have the highest potential for shale gas.

CGS also aims for the drilling to intersect deep brackish groundwater to understand its location and advise how it can be managed to avoid contamination with fresh water during further exploration and exploitation activities.

During Phase 1 of the KDD, CGS consulted with local communities, the Beaufort West municipality and other interested parties, and have since been given the “thumbs up” to proceed with the programme.

Phase 1 comprised geological and structural mapping activities at a regional scale, including hydrogeology, airborne and ground geophysics, environmental screening and seismic monitoring.

Environmental consultants were part of the CGS’s stakeholder engagement process and had given the green light for the council to proceed with Phase 2 of the programme.

The initial drilling stages of the project had already proven beneficial to the Beaufort West communities, with CGS having discovered five 169-m-deep shallow observation wells in November 2017 – two of which have the capacity to yield good quality groundwater of up to 33-million litres a month.

This discovery coincided with the unprecedented drought that the Western Cape experienced at the time. CGS subsequently donated the two boreholes to the Beaufort West municipality to alleviate the humanitarian crisis.

To date, the municipality had pumped almost 400-million litres of water to the people of Beaufort West.

Phases 3 and 4 of the KDD will involve borehole results analyses and post-drilling monitoring.

There remains concern about the impact of shale gas exploration and production in South Africa and questions about whether South Africa has sufficient viable shale gas reserves.

Nelson Mandela University Africa Earth Observatory’s Maarten de Wit in the South African Journal of Science in 2011 wrote about his concerns around shale gas discovery and extraction in South Africa.

At the time, he said it was not known with any degree of certainty how much gas may be beneath the Karoo and that, even if there was enough, it was uncertain whether the gas could be tapped without damaging other subsurface resources.

“Conservationists argue that extraction of the gas will leave massive irreparable environmental scars on one of South Africa’s iconic landscapes, while there may well be human health hazards pending from associated chemical pollution.”

However, he also acknowledges that gas is generally considered to be a cleaner source of energy than coal. This is especially welcome, given carbon emission targets that South Africa has, in light of climate change.

De Wit stated that shale gas is a bridging fuel toward renewable energy sources and an opportunity to wean the country’s grid off coal. “This approach will require holistic valuations that are yet to be attempted in either of the Karoo camps.”

Professor Bob Scholes of the University of the Witwatersrand’s Global Change Institute says studies by the Academy of Science of South Africa suggest that it is increasingly unlikely that economically and technically viable gas can be found in the Karoo.

In the absence of new exploration and testing up to now, the upper limit of gas in the Central Karoo had been estimated at 20 tcf.

Scholes points out that this is a tiny resource by global standards. In terms of energy content, 20 tcf of gas is about 40 times smaller than the known remaining coal reserves in South Africa.

Conventional gas reserves offshore of Mozambique have been estimated at 75 tcf, he adds.

Nonetheless, even a small viable gas find in South Africa can transform the national energy economy.

Mabuza tells Engineering News & Mining Weekly that even 1 tcf of gas can be economically exploited and benefit the national power grid and the economy. He expressed confidence in the KDD proving the safety and viability of the Karoo’s shale gas resource over the next few years.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Tire Dust

So it’s not just our exhausts that cause pollution when we drive, but our tires cause dust too!  See how a few UK student’s have invented something to capture this dust.

Tire Dust

UK Student’s Invention Captures Tire Dust, Promises to Curb Pollution

Source –  News Wheel – By Whitney Russell

“A group of British students known as The Tyre Collective recently won this year’s James Dyson Award for an invention that captures tire dust. (Because apparently car tires, not just their engines, are a major source of pollution.) Here’s what you should know about tire dust and the students’ innovative solution that promises to curb microplastic pollution.

Each year in Europe, vehicles produce half a million tons of tire particles, as the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health confirms. These particles then enter the air and (eventually) water sources, which can cause developmental issues and lung disease in humans. Per Reuters, it’s also the second-largest source of microplastic pollution in the ocean (single-use plastic is the top offender, as you might have guessed).

That’s where The Tyre Collective comes in. Hugo Richardson, one of the members of the team, commented on their winning invention. “Everyone focuses on air pollution being directly from the engines themselves. […] But tire wear is a huge contributor to that. ]…] That’s partly down to its microscopic size and the fact that you don’t obviously see it all the time.”

Per Reuters’, the team’s invention is comprised of a device that fits snugly around the tire’s edges. It captures dust particles at their source by using the wheel’s aerodynamics as well as electrostatics when the vehicle is in motion. In a controlled environment during the testing phase, the team found that this solution can collect 60 percent of all airborne particles that tires emit.

The Tyre Collective’s solution arrives at just the right time as the auto industry continues to shift more toward electric vehicles. Though EVs promise to curb air pollution, their heavier weights (due to heavy electric motors) could lead to an increase in air- and waterborne tire pollution.

The team is currently pursuing a patent for their design. If applied on a global level, this invention promises to help make the air and water a bit cleaner for all of us.”



Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Air Purifiers Can Help Reduce Airborne Contaminants

Here is a great article from regarding air purifiers. Jaroldi Gonzalez tells us that according to EPA, when used properly, air purifiers can help reduce airborne contaminants including viruses in a home or confined space.

I have included an extract of the article below – please follow the link provided to read the full article at source –


“Best Air Purifiers Based on In-Depth Reviews
A comprehensive guide to the best air purifiers for clean and quality air in your home or office.


We considered air cleaners that are best suited for all room sizes, taking into account the height of the ceilings and the size of the purifier. Oversizing is encouraged.

The best air purifiers have true to size CADR ratings, meaning “clean air delivery rate.” The higher the CADR, the larger the room it can clean.

We favored companies with a solid track record for answering customer concerns and inquiries about proper care and problems with the purifiers.


Do you know what’s in the air you breathe? According to the 2019 State of the Air Report by the American Lung Association, “In 2015-2017, more cities had high days of ozone and short-term particle pollution compared to 2014-2016, and many cities measured increased levels of year-round particle pollution.” Here you can look up your home state’s stats to see its level of air pollution.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that pollutants inside the home can affect your overall health. These pollutants can come from outdoor contaminants, but they can also be emitted from inside the home through daily routines such as cooking, cleaning, and personal grooming. Furniture lacquers, home building materials, and consumer products such as computer printers can also give off contaminants.

If you’re allergic or asthmatic, you’ve probably wondered what air particles are floating around in your home. While airborne allergens like dust, pollen, and pet dander are commonly known, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) are less so. The most common VOCs are trichloroethylene, formaldehyde, and benzene, which are found in everyday household products such as cosmetics, building materials, carpets, furniture, dry-cleaned clothes, home office appliances, cleaning chemicals, and air fresheners.

If inhaled in high quantities, VOCs can have harmful effects on your health. According to a NASA study on indoor air pollution, this phenomenon is called “sick building syndrome.” This happens when there is superinsulation and low air exchange in a living area such as a home or apartment. According to the EPA, most of us spend about 90% of our time indoors, either at home or at the office. Which begs the question, why don’t we take a more proactive stance on improving the air quality in our homes?

Air purifiers, also known as air cleaners or air sanitizers, are portable machines that can filter the air in indoor spaces. The companies reviewed here surpassed the industry standard for efficiency and effectiveness in purifying indoor air. Further on, we will give you the facts on what’s in the air you breathe, how to improve your air quality, and what to avoid when shopping for a purifier.”


Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.

Dust Explosions

Dust can be a dangerous thing!  It can literally cause explosions!  Here is some interesting information on dust explosions and what causes them as well as news of an event that took place in Tilbuy, England in August this year.


Dust Explosions

“Dust explosions occur when combustible dusts build up in the air and combust rapidly, causing a strong pressure wave to form. They are a deadly hazard in a variety of workplaces, from grain silos to plastics factories. A dust explosion requires several factors to be present at once. These include:

A combustible dust at the right concentration level
An enclosed space
An ignition source

Sometimes these factors are combined into a graphic known as the “Dust Explosion Pentagon.” The component in this graphic called “dispersion” is also known as concentration. If a concentration of dust is too low, there is not enough of it present to fuel an explosion. If the concentration is too high, there is not enough oxygen to support combustion.

While some combustible dusts are easy to guess—wood and paper dust, for example—others aren’t, such as aluminum dust. Combustible dusts become more dangerous as particulates become finer. These dusts feature a high ratio of surface area to volume, adding to their combustibility. When these dusts combine with oxygen within a range of concentrations, a dust explosion is possible.

In these conditions, all that is needed for an explosion is an ignition source. This source can be anything from a cigarette to a spark to an overheated wheel bearing. Under the right conditions, some combustible dusts can self-ignite as a result of static that builds up as particulates rub against one another. The ignition causes the dust to combust quickly—a process called deflagration that creates a wave of high air pressure. Sometimes this explosion can stir dust that has settled in the space, creating a cloud of new dust—a fuel source for an enormous secondary explosion. A dust explosion can blow out walls in a facility and kill or injure workers within the space or nearby.”

Source –,to%20be%20present%20at%20once.


“Dust explosions pose the most serious and widespread of explosion hazards in the process industry alongside vapour cloud explosions (VCE) and boiling liquid expanding vapour explosions (BLEVE). Dust explosions almost always lead to serious financial losses in terms of damage to facilities and down time. They also often cause serious injuries to personnel, and fatalities. We present the gist of the dust explosion state-of-the-art. Illustrative case studies and past accident analyses reflect the high frequency, geographic spread, and damage potential of dust explosions across the world. The sources and triggers of dust explosions, and the measures with which different factors associated with dust explosions can be quantified are reviewed alongside dust explosion mechanism. The rest of the review is focused on the ways available to prevent dust explosion, and on cushioning the impact of a dust explosion by venting when the accident does take place.”

Source –


Tilbury Port Grain store blast caused by ‘dust explosion’
Published20 August

For the original article – BBC News – Click here

“A blast that partially destroyed the roof of a large grain store was caused by a rare “dust explosion”, a fire service has said.
The explosion at Tilbury Port on 3 July was described as “like a bomb going off” with flames 75m (246ft) high.
Essex Fire and Rescue said the cause of the fire was recorded as “accidental” and no-one was injured.
“Dust explosions like this are very rare but occur if the dust reaches a flammable temperature,” it said.
The port said it had commenced “a phased start-up of operations at the terminal” last week.
When crews they found grain on fire inside the plant but were able to remove unaffected grain so it did not ignite.
Fire crews remained on site for 20 days extinguishing fires in the grain stores and preventing damage to the site.

A metal dust explosion in 2014 caused a blast that tore through a plant in eastern China, killing 75 people.
And 14 people died in an explosion at a sugar refinery, caused by exploding sugar dust, in the US state of Georgia in 2008.

Peter Ward, commercial director of the Port of Tilbury, said grain handling and storage had carried on at the port shortly after the fire.
He said the phased return to full operations was “a credit to our port team and their fantastic effort to restore the facility during these challenging times”.
The grain terminal at Tilbury opened in 1969 and is the UK’s largest, according to the port’s owners.”



Dust Monitoring Equipment – providing equipment, services and training in dust fallout management to the mining industry.