Mine Dust- Implications, Detection and Management

Mine Dust- Implications, Detection and Management

Dust consists of particles in the atmosphere that come from various sources such as soil, dust lifted by weather, volcanic eruptions, and pollution. Although there are numerous natural and anthropogenic sources of atmospheric particulates, mining operations pose the greatest potential risk to human health and the environment. A major problem, especially in the arid and semi-arid areas of Africa, appears to be the contamination by dust fallout from mining operations, from flotation tailing ponds and from smelters.
Dust and aerosol emissions associated with mining operations are commonly associated with significantly elevated levels of hazardous contaminants and are a source of occupational health hazard through direct exposure via inhalation, ingestion and other contamination routes. The changing nature of dust prevalence has led to increased amounts of ultrafine atmospheric particulates with varying elemental compositions. Their subsequent toxicity is also subject to modification. The current work will characterise the changing composition of dust particulates in order to review the present classification system for dusts, using a case study of a fine and ultra-fine process stream coal material generated from a South African colliery.
Rahul Ram
Postdoctoral Fellow
“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Ghandi
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish, by its ability to climb a tree, it will forever live its life believing it is stupid” – Albert Einstein

The Development of an Integrated Approach for Acid Rock Drainage (ARD) Prediction from Waste Rock
World-wide, acid rock drainage (ARD) is one of the largest environmental challenges facing locations with current or previously active mining activities. Formed from the exposure of sulphide minerals to both water and air, and catalysed by naturally occurring iron- and sulphur-oxidizing micro-organisms, ARD is predominantly associated with the mining of sulphidic ores. The effective management of this pollution requires accurate characterisation and prediction of the potential for long term ARD generation.
The aim of this project is to improve ARD characterisation and prediction through the development of an integrated protocol to assess ARD generation. In conjunction with standard ARD tests, the development of improved test methodologies will be used to obtain more reliable estimates for the rates ARD generation at the laboratory-scale under both chemical and microbially-mediated conditions. Integration of these results with a detailed mineralogical and geochemical study of the mine waste will enable a better understanding of the potential for pollution formation. Refinement of a simple mass transport model with results from the aforementioned laboratory-scale tests, and validated with mine-site field tests, will allow for the more reliable prediction of ARD generation.
Alex Opitz
PhD Chemical Engineering
Alexander holds an undergraduate and masters degrees in Chemical Engineering, and is currently completing his PhD in the characterisation and prediction of ARD risks from mine wastes. He has seven years research experience working on industry-related projects across multi-disciplinary fields including mineral leaching, bioprocess engineering and mineral geochemistry.

Characterizing the Environmental Risk Potential of South African Coal Processing Waste
The processing of coal to meet the consumers’ specifications produces large volumes of coal waste that impose environmental risks including water contamination, mainly due to acid rock drainage (ARD) and the subsequent mobilization of metals and salts. Another adverse impact is air pollution from spontaneous combustion of coal processing wastes disposed in dumps. The environmental impacts are related to geochemical and physical compositions of the waste.
Previous work at University of Cape Town to characterise the potential environmental risks of the waste was challenged by inadequate characterisation techniques and insufficient evaluation tools. This project aims to optimise the toolbox for characterising the potential environmental risks associated with coal waste through enhancing, validating and evaluating mineralogical, elemental, geochemical ARD and metal risk assessment tools. The characterisation will be done at laboratory scale on a number of coarse – fine coal wastes from different coal fields and operations in South Africa. The optimised characterisation toolbox will provide reliable data for assessment of human health and environmental risk potential of coal processing wastes. Furthermore, the data is useful in the justification and implementation of environmental impact mitigation measures and also providing a basis for value recovery of these wastes.
Annah Moyo
MSc Chemical Engineering
I am an individual who is not satisfied by mediocre when excellence is there, therefore I made it an obligation to do my best to achieve excellence. If we all do our best with sustainability and development as the set goals then the world will be a better place!!

Minerals To Metals Symposium 2016

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

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



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