Airborne Diseases

This is an article from Division of Disease Surveillance – Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention outlining diseases that are airborne or direct contact diseases.

Please follow the link to read the article in full.

Airborne Diseases

Airborne and Direct Contact Diseases

Airborne Diseases

“Airborne diseases are caused by pathogenic microbes small enough to be discharged from an infected person via coughing, sneezing, laughing and close personal contact or aerosolization of the microbe.  The discharged microbes remain suspended in the air on dust particles, respiratory and water droplets. Illness is caused when the microbe is inhaled or contacts mucus membranes or when secretions remaining on a surface are touched.

Transmission of airborne diseases can be greatly reduced by practicing social and respiratory etiquette. Staying home when ill, keeping close contact with an ill person to a minimum, allowing a few feet distance from others while ill, and wearing a mask, covering coughs and sneezes with elbow or tissue can greatly reduce transmission. Good hand washing can decrease spread of germ-containing droplets that could be picked up on hands from surfaces or hand contact with secretions.  Environmental controls and engineering alternatives help reduce transmission of water droplet aerosolized pathogens.

Contact Diseases

Contact Diseases are transmitted when an infected person has direct bodily contact with an uninfected person and the microbe is passed from one to the other. Contact diseases can also be spread by indirect contact with an infected person’s environment or personal items. The presence of wound drainage or other discharges from the body suggest an increased potential for risk of transmission and environmental contamination.  Precautions that create a barrier and procedures that decrease or eliminate the microbe in the environment or on personal belongings, form the basis of interrupting transmission of direct contact diseases.

Airborne and Direct Contact Diseases Include:

  • Acute Flaccid Myelitis – A rare but serious condition that affects the spinal cord and causes muscles and reflexes to become weak.
  • Anthrax – A serious disease caused by Bacillus anthracis, a bacterium that forms spores. A bacterium is a very small organism made up of one cell. Many bacteria can cause disease. A spore is a cell that is dormant (asleep) but may come to life with the right conditions.
  • Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE) – Enterobacteriaceae (En-tero-bac-te-ri-a-ce-ae) are a family of bacteria normally found in our gut.  They can also cause serious infection in the bladder, blood, wound and lungs.
  • Coronavirus – Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that includes viruses that may cause a range of illnesses in humans, from the common cold to SARS and MERS.
  • Enterovirus – Non-polio enteroviruses are very common viruses that cause about 10 to 15 million infections in the United States each year.
  • Group A Streptococcus – A bacterium often found in the throat and on the skin. People may carry group A streptococci in the throat or on the skin and have no symptoms of illness. Most GAS infections are relatively mild illnesses such as “strep throat,” or impetigo. Occasionally these bacteria can cause severe and even life-threatening diseases.
  • Invasive Group B Streptococcal (GBS) – A bacterium that causes illness in newborn babies, pregnant women, the elderly, and adults with other illnesses, such as diabetes or liver disease. GBS is the most common cause of life-threatening infections in newborns.
  • Haemophilus influenza – Invasive disease caused by Haemophilus influenzae type b can affect many organ systems. The most common types of invasive disease are pneumonia, occult febrile bacteremia, meningitis, epiglottitis, septic arthritis, cellulitis, otitis media, purulent pericarditis, and other less common infections such as endocarditis, and osteomyelitis.
  • Influenza – A disease that is caused by a virus and infects the nose, throat, and lungs. Influenza can cause severe illness and life-threatening complications in many people.
  • Legionellosis – An infection caused by the bacterium Legionella pneumophila. Maine monitors the incidence of Legionellosis through mandatory reporting by health care providers, clinical laboratories and other public health partners.
  • Measles – A respiratory disease caused by a virus that causes fever, runny nose, cough, and a rash all over the body.
  • Meningococcal Disease – The leading cause of bacterial meningitis in children and young adults in the United States. Symptoms of meningococcal disease include fever, headache and stiff neck in meningitis cases, and sepsis and rash in meningococcemia.
  • MERS-CoV – Currently, all cases are associated with either direct travel to the Arabian peninsula, or contact with a returned traveler from the Arabian peninsula.
  • Mumps – A disease caused by a virus that usually starts with a fever, headache, muscle aches, tiredness, and loss of appetite followed by swelling of glands.
  • MRSA – Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus is a bacterial infection that is resistant to some antibiotics. When MRSA bacteria are found on the skin but do not cause illness it is called “colonization.” In most cases, MRSA does not cause any problems or causes minor infections, such as pimples or boils. In some cases, MRSA can cause more serious infections.
  • Pertussis – A respiratory illness that usually starts with cold-like symptoms including a cough that can worsen after a few weeks. Pertussis is commonly known as whooping cough.
  • Plague – Plague is a disease caused by Yersinia pestis (Y. pestis), a bacterium found in rodents and their fleas in many areas around the world.
  • RSV – RSV is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages.  Healthy people usually experience mild, cold-like symptoms, but RSV can be serious especially for infants and older adults.
  • Strep pneumoniae – a Gram-positive encapsulated coccus that often colonizes the human nasopharynx, where it can be carried asymptomatically.
  • SARS – respiratory disease caused by a coronavirus, last reported in 2004
  • Tuberculosis – A disease caused by a bacterium that usually attacks the lungs.
  • Varicella – A disease commonly known as chickenpox that is caused by a virus. The most common symptom is a skin rash found mostly on the face, scalp, and trunk.”


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

Eskom plans to convert old coal mines

The role that Eskom plays in mining and it’s daily activities is huge.  What does Eskom plan for the future?

Please follow the link to read the original article.


Eskom plans to convert old coal mines and plants into gas, solar and wind power generators
By Chris Yelland• 21 April 2020

Eskom plans to convert old coal mines and plants into gas, solar and wind power generators

“This third article from the interview by Chris Yelland with André de Ruyter on 15 April 2020 covers Eskom’s response to climate change and the need for a just energy transition in South Africa towards a greener future.

(To listen to the article or to read the first and second articles please follow the link to the source of the article)

With Eskom being the country’s largest emitter of CO2 through the burning of coal for power generation, what is Eskom doing to reduce its carbon footprint, what are the key ingredients for unlocking a just energy transition in South Africa, and what role should Eskom be playing in this transition?

I must stress that Eskom fully recognises the importance of climate change and the fact that it has a negative impact, not only on the world, but in particular on South Africa as well.

South Africa is a signatory to the Paris Agreement and, therefore, as a major emitter of greenhouse gasses, we need to contribute to global efforts to address climate change. But that implies there is going to be a very wrenching adjustment from an economy built on cheap coal and cheap energy to an economy that is far more resilient and far less reliant on carbon.

The structural underpinnings of our economy have not changed yet and we are not very well prepared for the energy transition that is underway globally. That does not mean we can resist the energy transition. I think we need to accelerate very quickly on this long road in order to catch up and take advantage of the latest developments in technology.

If you look at the cost curves for renewable energy, compared to those for fossil-based energy, it is clear the technology developments and affordability of renewable energy have been such that you cannot afford to ignore this. It is beyond any doubt that wind and solar energy will play a key role in our energy portfolio and mix going forward. But that does not mean we will be able to back out of coal overnight.

This is going to be a long passage as we wind down our reliance on coal and, unfortunately, I think we will be a major coal consumer and hence a major emitter of greenhouse gasses and associated pollutants for some time.

We are now on the verge of retiring some of our older coal-fired power stations. This affords us the opportunity to consider repurposing them to natural gas and to use the vacant land around those power stations, where we can rehabilitate open-cast mines for solar or wind power generation.

These properties are now owned by Eskom to use and you may be aware that Eskom recently issued a request for expressions of interest and proposals for the repurposing of decommissioned coal-fired power stations, with a closing date of 10 June 2020.

Some may see old coal-fired power stations that have reached the end of their economic life, and are heavy emitters of carbon and also other pollutants, as a liability. We see these as potential assets and exciting opportunities that can be used to create a just transition.

These opportunities provide a future for communities that have helped develop this country and allowed us to benefit from mining and using coal for low-cost electricity generation for the last 60 years. We cannot just leave them in the lurch, leaving ghost towns and communities behind as festering political, social and economic wounds.

So, the call for expressions of interest and proposals on our website is an indication of the seriousness with which we take this repurposing. We believe that, if we do this right, we can also enable solutions to the significant decommissioning costs we would have to incur.

By extending the life of these power stations we can enable a just social transition and a just energy transition. At the same time, this will allow some of the private entities and communities that have expressed an interest in investing in these repurposed power stations to participate with us in public-private partnerships (PPPs).

You may be familiar with the Tennessee Valley Authority that repurposed a coal-fired power station. They were able to save anything between 30% to 35% of the capital cost of building a greenfields gas-fired power station by repurposing an old coal-fired power station. This gives an idea, from an economic perspective, of the fantastic opportunity we have.

Again, this is a perceived disadvantage that we are seeking to turn into a plus.

Of course, there must be significant savings in jobs that one can effect at these old power stations and at the old coal mines themselves, by taking advantage of the existing skills and infrastructure, roads, schools, clinics, even grid connections. This must surely lead to massive job and cost savings in such a transition?

Correct. And, Chris, I think there are further benefits here that we should explore.

We need to drive an appropriately structured local content plan for our renewable energy programme, along the lines of the motor industry development programme. We should be thinking about special economic development zones in the Witbank/Middelburg area for the manufacture of all manner of products used in renewable energy projects.

We have already had engagements with some of the DFIs [development finance institutions] and the appetite for this sort of effort is really something very positive. Organised labour obviously views this with interest and supports this initiative as well, because it addresses many of the concerns they have about an energy transition.

This can give rise to the rejuvenation of an area that has been decimated by a de-industrialisation that has taken place over the past decade or so. From an Eskom point of view, this also drives the consumption of electricity, which of course we favour.

So, it becomes a virtuous circle, rather than a vicious circle. That is the vision that we are working on. We are sitting here on the cusp of either an opportunity or an economic catastrophe for the coal industry. I think we can, to coin a phrase, beat our coal shovels into wind turbines and solar panels.

It is often stated Eskom needs to have an active role in renewable energy, as affirmed in the ANC’s election manifesto. Do you have a plan for Eskom to be active in this space and, with current realities, can Eskom compete in the highly competitive and well-established global developer market?

Chris, as I have explained, yes, we do think we have a role to play in the renewable energy space.

We see ourselves not as competition to private investors and developers. We see ourselves as partners and enablers. We are aware that, unlike private enterprise, we have many other objectives we are required to fulfil as a state-owned enterprise.

We see that potentially we can use the assets of our old coal-fired power stations that are being retired as a contribution of equity in kind in possible public-private partnerships. I think this is a great opportunity for us to leverage off, without requiring more cash from the fiscus and hence the taxpayer, in order to enable a just transition.

So, yes, we have got plans and these plans have to be pragmatic, implementable and affordable, and it is going to be quite a challenge to implement all of this over the next decade or so. — EE Business Intelligence. DM

Watch out for the fourth and final article in this interview series this week. Chris Yelland is managing director of EE Business Intelligence.”


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

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

Fighting Dust Allergies

Here is a great article from Clayton & Clayton regarding fighting dust allergies at home.  Please follow the link provided to read the full article.

Clayton & Clayton –


Fighting Dust Allergies: Common Methods to Clean and Prevent Dust Accumulation at Home

“Did you know allergy symptoms can actually worsen after cleaning, vacuuming, and dusting? It seems like dusting and vacuuming should improve your allergy problem, but often these activities can exacerbate the issue. In other words, the time you’re spending trying to make your allergies better can actually make them worse. The cleaning process causes dust particles to surface, making them easier to inhale.

Dust can be found in all locations of the home. Keeping the dust build-up to a minimum, especially if you’re affected by allergies, can improve your overall quality of life. There are many ways dust can be controlled. Decluttering, changing air filters, improving pet care practices and changing pillows are all examples of ways you can control dust in your home.

Overall, you may find controlling dust requires a change in lifestyle and behaviors at home. By changing the way you clean, the type of bedding you use, the way you interact with your pets and other lifestyle factors, you can reduce the amount of dust in your home.

This article will discuss the most effective methods for eliminating dust. You’ll also learn where you can find the most dust in your home and how to reduce your dust allergies.

Dust Allergies
A dust allergy is an allergic reaction to dust or dust mites found in the home. Dust mites are a type of insect that live in the household and eat dust. People who are allergic to dust are often allergic to these insects. Dust and dust mites can be found nearly everywhere in the home, including bedding, upholstery and carpeting. People who are allergic to dust and mites can control their symptoms by reducing the amount of dust in their home. Some people also take medication for this allergy.

Symptoms of Dust Allergies
If you suffer from a dust allergy, you may experience a variety of negative symptoms such as:

Runny nose
Itchy eyes
Tightness in the chest
Wheezing and coughing
Postnasal drip
Blue-colored skin under the eyes
Difficulty breathing
Although dust allergies are not usually a serious condition, it can be if the affected person has a severe enough reaction. Conditions like asthma can be deadly for someone who goes untreated, or who does not have the tools to enable breathing when an attack occurs. Work with your doctor to ensure your dust mite allergy condition is properly treated.

Allergy triggers can cause your allergies to become suddenly pronounced. Triggers can take many forms, depending on your particular allergy and how severe your allergy is.

Dust Mites
Dust mites are the most common reason people are allergic to dust. Mites thrive in conditions with temperatures over 70 degrees and in high humidity. You can find dust mites everywhere. They float in the air, live in upholstery and carpeting, can be found in curtains and bedding, and can even live in mattresses.

Mites are not visible to the naked eye. Even if a house looks clean, it could be infested with dust mites.

While pollen originates outside, it can still enter the home through windows, screens, doors, and even on the bodies of people and animals who have spent time outside. Pollen is scattered through the air by plants. Different types of plants have different types of pollen. The type of pollen found in and around your home will depend on the types of plants found in your environment.

Most people are only allergic to certain types of pollen. If plants you’re allergic to live in your area, you’re likely to experience problems. If the plants that trigger your allergies are not in your town or neighborhood, you may not experience allergy symptoms until you go someplace where the particular pollen can be found.

Feathers, Animal Hair and Other Animal Particles
Animal hair and feathers are another common source of dust in the home. Pets shed their hair, dander (skin particles), saliva and urine throughout the house. When combined with dust, pet hair can create a variety of allergy problems. Feathers are similarly problematic for people who are allergic to birds. Typically, only one type of animal or bird will trigger allergies for the affected person.

Cockroaches drop tiny particles (including feces) into the environment, which can cause an allergic reaction. Cockroaches can be found in any environment, but are most commonly found in urban areas. Presence of cockroaches in the home can negatively impact indoor air quality, especially in the areas of the home where the roaches spend time.

Mold produces fungus spores, which are then released into the air. Mold can be found in homes, especially in places like the bathroom or bedroom, and can be toxic. Homes with a lot of mold, or a lot of one kind of triggering mold, can cause problems for people with mold allergies. All homes have mold, but the homes with the biggest problems are those with humidity and moisture issues. Plumbing leaks, roof leaks and lack of air flow can all contribute to mold development in the home.”

(To read more, follow the link above)

Fighting Dust Allergies

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

Open Pit Mining Pros and Cons

I trust you will find this article informative and useful.  Have a wonderful day!

Follow the link to read the article at it’s source.



Open Pit Mining Pros and Cons


Open Pit Mining Pros & Cons

Updated June 25, 2018
By Max Roman Dilthey

“Open pit mining — or strip mining — is an extraction process for ore or fossil fuels that takes place at the surface of a mining site. Worldwide, 40 percent of mining occurs at the surface, according to Greenpeace International. Compared with underground mining, surface mining is much more efficient. Unfortunately, this economy comes with a strict environmental cost because the surface environment is destroyed and polluted during the mining process.

Efficient Operations
One of the major benefits to open pit mining is the increase in efficiency over deep-shaft mining techniques. Because mining occurs at the surface, no space restrictions from narrow tunnels and shafts affect the rate at which ore can be extracted. Sampling each “bench” — or level — in an open pit before mining deeper makes it easy for surveyors to analyze the potential ore yield and avoid safety hazards. Open pit mining also uses larger extraction vehicles, increasing the amount of ore harvested per day. All of these improvements to efficiency work to reduce the cost of mining using an open pit.

Greater Safety
Open-pit mining is much safer than shaft mining. In underground mining, the threat of a cave-in or release of toxic gas is a constant concern. When shaft mining was the most common method of ore extraction, thousands died in cave-ins, gas events and accidents involving equipment. In 1907 alone, more than 3,200 deaths related to mining occurred. Today, with safer mining processes, such as open-pit mining, safer equipment and a general increase in safety awareness, mining deaths have fallen considerably. For example, 15 coal mine related deaths were recorded in 2017 in the United States.

Loss of Ecosystem
An open pit mining operation virtually eliminates any biologic life at the surface. Vegetation is stripped, and the surface at the dig site is left completely barren. Without replanting and restoring the ecosystem, a strip mining site can take decades to recover. Abandoned mining pits can also pose extreme risks. The slope of the mining walls can be steep or even vertical, and the structural stability of access points is constantly changing as erosion occurs. Without vegetation to stabilize the surface, landslides and rockslides can occur without warning.

Pollution and Drainage
AMD, or acid mine drainage, is a serious environmental concern associated with strip mining. AMD occurs when sulfide-rich rocks that contain ore are broken down from exposure to water and air at the surface. The sulfides form sulfuric acid, which dissolves nearby rock and releases dangerous metalloids into local streams and groundwater. This polluted water can kill life along water sources for miles. The Questa molybdenum mine in New Mexico, for example, is the root cause for more than eight miles of damage to the Red River.”


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

Types of Pollution From Gold Mining

Hello everyone!  I hope you enjoy today’s article.

The link to the original article is below.

Types of Pollution Generated by Gold Mining –


Types of Pollution Generated by Gold Mining

Updated April 25, 2017
By Milton Kazmeyer

“The high value of gold has made it a prime target of massive industrial mining operations designed to extract the mineral in the most efficient way possible. Heavy machinery, strip mining and acid extraction techniques give miners access to the valuable metal, but they can have significant side-effects. The gold mining and extraction industry creates a wide variety of pollution types, and if not regulated it can devastate any region that’s home to veins of the sought-after ore.

Air Pollution
Gold mines are usually large-scale operations, with heavy machinery and large vehicles required to dig and transport ore from place to place. These large vehicles produce emissions and greenhouse gases just like any other combustion engine-powered vehicle will, but usually on a larger scale and with much lower fuel efficiency. In addition, the earth-moving equipment that digs mine shafts or strips away topsoil can produce substantial amounts of dust and airborne particles that can further reduce the air quality around the mining operation. Airborne pollution from gold mining frequently contains heavy metals such as mercury, and as such is a potential health hazard for anyone exposed to it.

Soil Pollution
The soil pollution created by mining operations is another threat to wildlife and human health. Frequently, valuable ores run through rocks containing sulfides, and exposing this rock creates sulfuric acid. Washing these toxic byproducts away results in a semi-solid slurry called “tailings” that can contaminate the soil it comes in contact with. The acid leaching out of tailings can poison groundwater, and the toxic substances and heavy metals present in the leftover material can invade the topsoil and remain dangerous for years.

Water Pollution
Gold mining also has the potential to contaminate any nearby water supplies. Acid washed out of mines frequently finds its way into the water table, altering the pH of nearby streams and rivers and threatening the survival of wildlife. If a tailings reservoir bursts, it can result in a toxic mudslide that can block the flow of waterways and wipe out any living thing it encounters. In addition, some small-scale mining operations practice illegal dumping of their toxic byproducts. One such case is the Minahasa Reya mine in Indonesia. In 2003, the corporation that ran the mine dumped 4 million tons of toxic tailings into Buyat Bay, enough to leave detectible residues in fish caught in the bay and cause swimmers and fishermen to suffer skin rashes.

Extracting the ore is not the only source of pollution in gold mining. Refining raw ore to remove impurities and concentrate the gold content usually involves caustic chemicals. One method involves dissolving the gold with a concentrated cyanide solution, allowing the resulting liquid to run away from the remaining ore and collecting it for reconstitution. The concentrations of cyanide used in this process are extremely dangerous, and if spilled into the environment, pose a significant threat to wildlife and human health.”


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

Types of Pollution From Gold Mining

DIY – Measuring Airborne Particulates

Have a look at this tool developed by German scientist to measure airborne particulates. DustWatch is able to manufacture these and supply them on request.

Please follow the link to read the full article –



Concerned about what they saw as deficiencies in official monitoring, German citizen scientists developed a tool for measuring airborne particulates that anyone can build.

Prathap Nair

June 29, 2017 — On a warm May evening in the southern German town of Stuttgart, citizen scientists gather in the basement of the city library with laptops on their desks and sparkling water by their sides. Known as “OK Lab Stuttgart,” this group meets regularly with an aim “to create useful applications for citizens using open data,” according to the website of the project’s umbrella organization Code for Germany.

This night’s discussion revolves around sensors that are helping citizens in Stuttgart and elsewhere around the world to measure air quality in their neighborhoods.

Homegrown Data

Two years ago, in one such meeting, Jan Lutz, a Stuttgart-based social entrepreneur, suggested pursuing a project that would allow citizens of his city to build easy-to-assemble sensors to measure air quality. Stuttgart has a reputation as the bad-air capital of Germany. Last year alone, particulate matter levels in the city crossed the official limit of 50 micrograms per cubic meter of PM10 — particles 10 micrometers and smaller — for 63 days, well above the European-Union-permitted 35 days.

Exposure to PM10 particles can cause or exacerbate respiratory and cardiovascular problems such as coughing, decreased lung function, asthma, chronic bronchitis and even lung cancer. The city government issues air-pollution alerts on days when the pollution is above the permissible limit, advising citizens to leave their cars at home and use public transportation.

According to a 2014 WHO report, outdoor air pollution was linked to 3.7 million deaths worldwide in 2012. The numbers are increasing each year as industrialization and vehicle emissions increase, threatening air quality in cities and rural areas alike.

Lutz’s project, called Luftdaten (German for “air data”), quickly took off because the citizen scientists thought government sensors were not sufficient for measuring air quality. The government-installed sensors in Stuttgart are placed at traffic intersections where there’s heavy traffic, and the air-quality data from these sensors represents at least the 200 square meters around the sensor. Lutz’s sensors are placed in many locations, from balconies of residential apartments to public parks, potentially providing more comprehensive data.

Inspired by the simplicity of building these sensors, the movement picked up momentum. There are now 251 of them active in and around Stuttgart.

DIY Sensors Around the World

Using do-it-yourself techniques explained in a user manual that’s also been translated into several languages, including English, by citizen scientists around the world, the air pollution sensors are connected to a wireless chip, a USB power supply source and a thermometer that measures humidity in the air, which is crucial for measuring particulate matter levels. These instruments are encased in standard PVC plumbing tubes and hung from balconies at homes and at various outdoor locations. After being connected to a home’s internet, the device transmits data to the Luftdaten website and to the Luftdaten Twitter handle, which posts alerts when the PM levels exceed 200 micrograms per cubic meter. The devices cost about €35 (US$39).”

DIY - Measuring Airborne Particulates


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

How Coronavirus Will Change The Future Of Work

This new coronavirus outbreak will have a major impact on many areas of our lives.  How will it affect work?

Please follow the link to read the article at source.


5 Predictions About How Coronavirus Will Change The Future Of Work
Tracy Brower

“The world is upside down and sometimes it can be tough (really tough, if we’re honest) to stay optimistic and maintain sanity. Questions are everywhere: What the future will hold? What will we learn? How will life (continue to) change? And what will the new normal be?

We’re experiencing shifts in so many facets of life from family and community to work and how we socialize. While we may worry about the worst, a positive future is likely when considering what your company will do for you, how you will work with others, how your workplace and technology will change, how your company will modify its overall approaches and even how you take advantage of career opportunities.

The future will be bright—and there is cause for hope—in these five key areas:

What Your Company Does For You
Your employer will expand the support they provide you. Many employers have added to employee support systems as a result of the coronavirus crisis, and it is likely this new programming will be maintained. Companies have been forced to consider employee wellbeing more holistically—in terms of not only the physical, but also mental and emotional wellbeing. The wellness centers set up during the pandemic or morning meditations your company began offering are likely to continue. In addition, companies are learning how important employee engagement and motivation are—no matter where people are working—and this knowledge will inform a greater level of support for employees.

Support for mental health will be embraced. Isolation is a primary factor in depression, anxiety and other significant mental health issues—and the need for physical and social distancing has only exacerbated this struggle. Previously, mental health may not have received the necessary attention it deserved. But with a potential increase in mental health issues, there is a greater appreciation for its importance and for the ways companies can provide solutions, employment benefits and programming to help employees.

Leadership will improve. Throughout a crisis, leadership is more important than ever. It is also clear which leadership behaviors are most effective. In the toughest times, the leaders who excel are those who communicate clearly, stay calm and strong, demonstrate empathy, think long-term and take appropriate decisive action. It is likely these difficult times will filter out leaders who are less stellar. During normal times, leaders may be able to slide by with less effective approaches, but when crisis hits, true character is revealed. It’s possible some ineffective leaders may be able to hide, but it’s likely leaders will become more effective overall. Those who weren’t the best will step up. Those who can’t improve their game will be weeded out. Those who are the most effective will receive plenty of praise and reinforcement, thus setting new standards for all.

Company culture will become a focus. Like leadership, company culture is paramount to an organization’s success. If culture is “the way things get done around here” or “what people do when no one is looking”, it has become especially critical in guiding actions and decisions of both leaders and employees. It is likely companies will increasingly acknowledge the importance of culture as context for performance and employee engagement—focusing on monitoring, managing and curating a culture by design (rather than a culture by default).

How You Work With Others
Your relationship with your teammates will improve. Nothing is more significant in creating bonds between teammates than a common enemy, and the coronavirus struggle is a perfect example of what will strengthen relationships. These are very tough times and when we come out on the other side—having gone through it together—we will have new levels of connection with our colleagues. You’ll be excited to see people you missed during your furlough or work-from-home period. And you’ll share a lasting bond with teammates with whom you’ve worked to solve problems and act proactively during these difficult times. Work is fundamentally social—and today, and in the future, co-workers will occupy an even more important place in our work experience.

Work will allow for more diversity. The traditional approach to work may not have been as welcoming to those with different capabilities—physically, mentally or socially. But allowing people to work from home has made way for more people to contribute in new ways. Companies will realize how much those with differing capabilities are able to contribute. As a result, we will see an expanded view of how lots of people can bring their best to work—through inclusive design, new policies and practices, and new approaches to teamwork that support different ways of working.

Your boss and teammates will be more empathetic about your work-life. After having been home so much—especially without helpful services like childcare and cleaning services—managers and colleagues will have new respect for life’s demands, and appreciation for all-things family. They will more deeply understand what it takes to orchestrate your personal life from cooking to supporting kids in their school work. In addition, they will have a refreshed level of appreciation for the ways family and friends are critical to life and happiness.

Your Workplace And Technology
Work will become more flexible. Many companies have been resistant to letting employees work from home, but this unexpected global work-from-home experiment has forced companies to accept it as a legitimate option. Companies have put greater technology systems and support in place to facilitate mobile working. Teams are figuring out how to collaborate at a distance and leaders are improving their ability to manage based on outcomes and objectives rather than presence. Companies will expand the acceptability of remote work, and they will provide more choice and flexibility to employees to work wherever they can get their best work done, including away from the office.

Your office will get better. When employees go back to the office, employers will be forced to re-think their approach to the workplace. Companies will need to consider enhanced cleaning techniques, more distancing and increased choices for employees across a campus (providing places for focus, collaboration, learning, socializing and respite). In addition, all the things employees loved about being home—comfortable places to relax between meetings or personalization for example—will create new demands on the office. Organizations will have a new appreciation for the importance of the office, the critical nature of face-to-face interactions and the ways their workplaces must support employees.

You’ll be more comfortable with technology. No matter what your level of comfort with technology in the past, you’ve likely had to become even more adept after the current COVID crisis. It’s stressful to use new systems, leverage technology to connect in new ways and work through challenges when your platform goes down because the network is overloaded. But you’ve probably expanded your comfort, capability and confidence with all-things tech. In addition, your company or neighborhood may have upgraded their infrastructures, creating a better pipeline and more streamlined and user-friendly interfaces, making technology easier to live with and ensuring it creates less friction in your day.

Your Company’s Approaches
Speed will increase, and bureaucracy will be reduced. As companies grow and mature, it’s natural for them to establish processes and practices that ensure standardization and consistency. While these are necessary, the downside can be the unintended slowing of progress and increase in bureaucracy. The COVID crisis has led many companies to reduce or eliminate unnecessary systems and has caused organizations to streamline processes to respond more quickly to coronavirus-based needs. In addition, many companies have had to delegate decision making to enhance speed—resulting in increased empowerment for employees. Whether they are HR systems, development systems, manufacturing systems or customer-response systems, the ability to respond quickly is likely to have a positive effect in the future. If we can increase efficiencies and empowerment today, surely we will avoid more non-value-added work and decision bottlenecks in the future.

Innovation will flourish. The most innovative solutions often arise in the face of the greatest constraints. Our current COVID-19 challenges create extraordinary barriers to business as usual. As a result, today’s struggles and pain are forcing new ways of thinking, better approaches and fresh perspectives on problems. Companies will learn from the requirement for greater innovation and create the conditions for expanded levels of creativity, exploration and problem solving.

Companies will work together more effectively. As Shakespeare said in The Tempest, “Misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows”. Companies who competed in the pre-COVID world, may have been driven to collaborate in today’s new normal. There are examples of restaurants who were traditionally in competition, now working together to donate food to needy people, or manufacturing organizations collaborating to provide jobs to displaced workers. There are even examples of previously-competing companies sharing engineering information to manufacture critical medical supplies. While it is unrealistic to expect companies will share IP or development secrets in the future, companies will have a renewed sense of responsibility to their communities and a willingness to collaborate for the greater good across the fields in which they play (ensuring they follow anti-trust laws, of course).

Your Opportunities To Contribute
You’ll have renewed career opportunities. At this writing, unemployment is at a near-all-time high and is predicted to rise as high as 32%, so this point may seem unrealistic, but situations that upend the status quo can be ideal—ultimately—for career development. During these times, companies have had to reassess critical jobs, expand definitions of responsibilities and explore new boundaries for key tasks. With such fundamental shifting of jobs and the way they’re designed, career opportunities will abound. You may be furloughed today, but when the economy comes back, there will be significant need for people who can ramp up quickly, take action and put motivation toward efforts that make companies hum. These opportunities may be within organizations or may deliver on the promise of the “gig economy” in which people are their own brand and go wherever the need is—within companies or as contractors.

Your entrepreneurial spirit will be tapped when every business is a start-up. When the coronavirus finally abates, businesses will be in a rush to re-establish their value, re-energize their product flows and do so quickly. In this way, even the most mature, well-established organizations will become like start-ups. There will also be a potential deluge of new businesses and perhaps “world-changing companies,” according to Mark Cuban. All of these will need quick thinking, fast flow of ideas and ingenuity to figure things out and make things happen. This kind of culture will create opportunities for new jobs and career development.

At the moment, it may be tough to see the light at the end of the tunnel or hold a sense of optimism for the future, but tomorrow will be improved by the struggles we’re facing today. Whether it’s what your company does for you, the way you work with others, improvements to your choices at work, how your company approaches its community commitments or your expanded career opportunities, the learning we do today will improve the years to come. The current crisis will eventually pass and a new normal will emerge—and there is plenty of reason to believe that future will be bright.”


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

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

What Speeds Up Erosion?

There are many things that we do that cause soil erosion.  And with soil erosion, there is more dust created.

Take a look at which activities cause the most erosion.

Follow the link to the original article.


Which of Man’s Activities Speeds Up Erosion?

Updated April 25, 2017
By Susan Sherwood

“Wind, water and glaciers all wear down soil and rock and carry it to other sites. The process of erosion makes a tremendous, costly impact around the world. Each year, estimated damage due to erosion reaches $400 billion worldwide. Some of this is due to natural causes, but a great deal of erosion comes from human activities such as agriculture, mining and construction.

The Effects
Whether it is natural or man-made, erosion leads to a number of problems. Over 99 percent of the world’s food is raised on farms, but the planet is losing about 96,000 square kilometers (about 37,000 square miles) of cropland annually. It takes 20 years for just 2.5 acres to be replaced. Erosion also leads to sediment dumping in waterways. This harms habitats, killing organisms dependent upon streams and rivers. In addition, when land is worn down, it cannot control water flow well, so flooding is more likely.

Cultivation Challenge
Farmland is being reduced because of erosion, but agriculture practices are, ironically, responsible for removing about 75 billion tons of topsoil around the world annually. The American share of that is almost 7 billion tons. Farming exposes topsoil to wind and rain when vegetation is cleared for new acreage, as well as when plows work the field, loosening the soil.

Going Deep
Mining activities remove trees, plants and topsoil from an area. Unprotected, the earth is open to the elements, and wind and rain erode the land. Strip mining is especially harmful because it moves large chunks of land to reach the coal beneath. Developers sometimes blast sections of mountains, exposing even more vulnerable earth.

The Problem Builds
If appropriate steps are not taken, construction practices cause erosion. Soil is exposed when areas are cleared for building, and storm water runoff carries sediment to lakes, rivers and streams. In many parts of the United States, regulations require construction areas larger than 5 acres to have erosion-control plans, such as silt fences and straw bales to reduce runoff.

Getting Hotter
Humans contribute to global warming, and global warming contributes to erosion. The burning of coal, oil and gas is responsible for most of the climate change. Storms are increasing in frequency and severity, washing away soil. This is especially apparent in coastal areas, where hurricanes and typhoons wear away coastlines and destroy habitats.”


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

What Speeds Up Erosion?

Impact of Covid-19 on mining

Two articles on the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic could have on diamond and platinum mining.

Please follow the links to read the articles at source.


20 APRIL 2020
Impact of Covid-19 on the diamond market

Impact of Covid-19 on the diamond market

“According to leading diamond producer Alrosa, 2020 started well for the diamond sector, citing improved customer sentiment across key markets for diamond jewellery, a recovery in prices for polished diamonds and that sales were ‘quite robust’ in December and January.

However, the initial outbreak of Covid-19 led to a fall in demand from the Chinese market, which is reported to account for 15% of global demand. The spread of the virus in China and ensuing quarantine measures meant the majority of jewellery stores were closed for around two months.

Diamond sales
Given the spread of the virus, quarantines and declining economic conditions, it was inevitable that demand for luxury items such as diamonds would fall. In early March, De Beers, the world’s second-largest producer, reported a 28% year-on-year decline in sales, at $355m down from $496m in 2019, during its second sales cycle of 2020 as Covid-19 impacted the Chinese market. This compared with $551 in the first sales cycle of 2020, with 12 sales cycles in a year.

There have been additional challenges for sales. Since the virus has spread to other parts of the world, limitations on travel are impacting sales events, with, for example, De Beers, cancelling a sales event, its third ‘sight’ of the year, due to take place
from 30 March to 3 April. The company advised it was “enabling Sightholders to defer 100% of their Sight 3 allocations to later in the year, and will continue to seek innovative ways to meet Sightholders’ rough diamond supply needs in the coming
weeks”. It has also closed stores in London, Paris, US, Canada, Russia, Kazakhstan, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia until further notice.

Alrosa is looking at the option of online trade as global travel restrictions make the usual physical inspection of diamonds almost impossible. In its Q1 results, released on 16 April, the company reported a mixed quarter for sales. Total rough and polished diamond revenues in Q1 2020 were $904.2m, down 10% year-on-year, although this was due to much lower revenues in March, at $153m, compared with $377m in March 2019. January and February 2020 together were $751m, 19.8% higher than the corresponding period in 2020. Sales volumes also fell year-on-year in the quarter, down by 11% from 10,592k carats in Q1 2019 to 9,421k carats in Q1 2020.

Diamond production in 2020 is being affected by operating restrictions in many countries. South Africa, for example, initially entered into a lockdown for three weeks from 26 March, but this has now extended to the end of April. In Quebec, on 24
March, the government suspended mining as a non-essential service, and while it has permitted mines to recommence from 15 April, Stornoway Diamond’s Renard mine, the province’s only diamond mine, will remain in care and maintenance.

Elsewhere, mines across Lesotho, Namibia, Zimbabwe, India and other parts of Canada are on hold due to lockdowns or, in some cases proactive steps. For example, in Northwest Territories in Canada, Dominion Diamond Mines suspended operations at its Ekati mine in mid-March, to avoid the spread of the coronavirus.
Overall mines that would otherwise account for over 16% of the world’s diamond output in 2020 are on hold.

Alrosa is one of the least affected, with no lockdowns in Russia, although the company is undertaking a wide range of measures to minimise the potential spread of the virus. The company, which is the world’s largest producer, reported a year-on-year increase of 2.5% in Q1 2020, due to increasing production at the Jubilee pipe and at the Aikhal and international underground mines. Latest guidance is for production of 34.2m carats in 2020, which would be an 11% decline on 2019’s 38.485m carats, although only marginally lower than its pre-Covid guidance of 34.2m carats.

Likewise, De Beers is not expected to be significantly impacted. Its initial guidance was for 32m-34m carats in 2020, up from 30.8m carats in 2019, with an update expected when the company releases its Production Report for Q1 2020 on 23 April. The majority of its diamond production is in Botswana, where mining activities have not been forced to close, although a 28-day lockdown has been imposed. South Africa and Namibia together accounted for 12% of total production in 2019 and, despite the widespread lockdowns in South Africa, Anglo American announced its Venetia diamond mine would continue operations, albeit at 75% of the workforce.

Overall expectations for 2020 diamond production before the outbreak were for a slight reduction on 2019 output, down by 1.5% from 145m carats in 2019. Rio Tinto’s guidance was 12m-14m carats versus 17m carats in 2019 with the Argyle mine entering its final year of production, while in Q4 2019 Alrosa was already advising of production of 34.3m carats for 2020, a reduction of over 4m carats. However, with more limited production due to mines entering care and maintenance or operating at reduced capacity, initial expectations are for production to fall to 133m carats, a decline of 9%. Should lockdowns continue or the market deteriorate further, then an even more significant decrease is expected.”


South African lockdown another dent to global platinum production

21 APRIL 2020
South African lockdown another dent to global platinum production

“The 21-day lockdown that has commenced across South Africa’s mining sector will particularly impact the global supply of platinum and other PGMs. However, with declining demand from the autocatalyst and jewellery sectors, platinum prices remain under pressure.

From midnight on 26 March, all but a few of South Africa’s 239 operating mines were put on care and maintenance for three weeks in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19 across the country. Only a small number of thermal coal mines remain in operation in order to feed the country’s coal-fired power generation.

To date, South Africa has not been too badly affected by the pandemic.

As of 26 March, there were just over 700 cases, including only one at a mine site, according to the Minerals Council of South Africa, and also no deaths to date. However, the government recognises the true threat the virus poses and has made the most significant step to affect the mining sector globally by choosing to a 21-day lockdown.

South Africa is the dominant producer of platinum globally, accounting for over 70% of the total production. By freezing production for 21 days, it effectively reduces the global supply for the year by 4%, around 250koz. Production in 2020 was already forecast to decline due to lower output from Anglo American Platinum. The company reported an explosion at its Anglo Converter Plant at the Waterval smelter in Rustenberg in February, which will take until Q2 2021 to be repaired. As a result, guidance for 2020 was reduced from 2-2.2Moz to 1.5-1.7Moz for platinum.

Previously, in 2019, production had fallen by 1%. This was despite increased production from leading producers such as Anglo American Platinum and Sibanye-Stillwater, which acquired Lonmin during the year, with their increases being offset by declines elsewhere such as at Implats.

Demand for platinum is highest in the autocatalyst sector where it is used in diesel vehicles, however, following the dieselgate scandal in late 2015, demand for platinum in this segment has been falling steadily, down by 16% overall between 2016 and 2019. An opposite trend has been seen for palladium, which has benefited from stricter emission laws in Europe and China, which have prompted car manufactures to produce more petrol and fewer diesel vehicles.

The COVID-19 outbreak is having a significant impact on the automotive sector, with the widespread temporary closure of plants and, as of 24 March, GlobalData was predicting a decline in sales of light vehicles of over 15% for 2020. Thus any impact on platinum output of the 21-day lockdown would be expected to be more than counteracted by the decline in demand from the automotive sector.

Sales of platinum jewellery are also expected to decline in 2020, continuing the downward trend since 2014.

The price of platinum experienced a steep decline from over $1,000/oz on 19 February to $608/oz on 22 March, but this was halted by the announcement of the lockdown, with prices rising to $735/oz on 26 March. However, with a rising surplus expected this year and ongoing temporary shutdowns of auto manufacturing to contain the spread of the coronavirus, platinum prices are expected to remain under pressure”


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

Impact of Covid-10 on mining

Corona Virus and Autonomous Mining

There will be a lot of consequences to the corona virus outbreak both in domestic and industrial life.

Could this be one of them?

Please follow the link to read the original article.

Autonomous Mining - The Syama gold mine in Mali is operated by Resolute Gold, and is the worlds first fully autonomous mine.

The Syama gold mine in Mali is operated by Resolute Gold, and is the worlds first fully autonomous mine. Image credit: Resolute Gold

Covid-19: Could the coronavirus pandemic accelerate autonomous mining?

By Matthew Hall

“Mining companies are seeing their operations disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic, with mine projects either closing down or severely reducing staff presence as measures to slow the spread of the virus. Mining Technology takes a look at some of the biggest players and projects in the automated mining space and breaks down some of the barriers to an entirely robotic workforce.

Pilbara, Western Australia
Uptake of automated mine solutions including self-driving haul trucks and remote operations centres has been slow but steady. One of the earliest moves into automation came with global mining giant Rio Tinto’s Mine of the Future initiative in 2008. From a remote operations centre in Perth, Western Australia, workers operate autonomous mining vehicles at mines more than 1,200km away in the Pilbara region of Western Australia.

Around a third of the haul truck fleet at Rio Tinto’s Pilbara mines are autonomous. These trucks can continuously track the locations, speeds and directions of other vehicles, meaning that material can be moved safely and efficiently – as well as more productively – without human presence.

Rio Tinto added a new facet to its automated operation in 2019 with the deployment of its AutoHaul system, which brought autonomous trains to the Pilbara project. The system is the largest autonomous railway in the world and can transport approximately a million tonnes of iron ore per day.

Pilbara is very much a hotspot of automation innovation, with commodity giant BHP also deploying several autonomous operations at their Pilbara mines as part of BHP’s Next Generation Mining programme. A GlobalData report found that mine operations in Australasia are some of the most technologically advanced in the world.

Syama Mine, Mali
The Syama underground gold mine, 80% owned by Resolute Gold with the Government of Mali holding the other 20% stake, became the world’s first fully-autonomous mine operation. Designed in partnership with Swedish engineering company Sandvik, the mine operates with fully automated trucks, loaders and drills.

The fully autonomous operation means that the mine can operate 24 hours a day, with all operations overseen from a remote operation centre. Resolute Gold says this keeps productivity high with relatively low costs, and the automated systems allow for consistent production output.

Sandvik provides two key product lines for mining companies looking to take a more hands-off approach. AutoMine covers all aspects of automation from individual pieces of equipment through larger machines to autonomous vehicle fleets. OptiMine, used at Syama and increasingly being adopted by other mining projects, seeks to improve efficiency in mining operations by providing a suite of analytics and process optimisation tools. Sandvik worked with IBM researchers to develop OptiMine, a system that has been adopted even in traditional, human-operated mines to improve analysis of production and processes.

Challenges ahead
Autonomous mining solutions appear attractive – they’re purported to improve efficiency, productivity and safety. Now that the Covid-19 coronavirus outbreak has made the immediate future of several mining operations around the world uncertain, there may be an increased appeal and demand for solutions to reduce the human workforce at mine sites, if only to prevent future crises from having such a detrimental effect on mining companies.

But barriers to autonomous operations remain. Projects like Resolute Gold’s Syama are well suited to automation because of the methods and processes used for extraction. Syama’s ore body dimensions suit sub-level caving mining, a top-down mining method that allows for fairly standardised repetitive processes. This means autonomous vehicles can follow largely the same route as they travel through the mine, and each individual automated unit can be seen as a cog in a larger machine. That is not the case for every mining project, and there are concerns among critics of automation that a human element is a vital part of safe, effective operations.

Another element that attracts criticism is the replacement of human workers with robots. While this cuts costs for the company, largely in the form of salary expenditure, there does remain the question of where mineworkers go to if their job is made obsolete by new technology. The benefit to local communities and governments of job creation when a new mining project is proposed is also a key factor in those projects getting the go-ahead; an autonomous operation removes part or all of that benefit.

Ultimately, the current issues around mine activities and closures in light of the Covid-19 pandemic are likely to have long-lasting effects on the global mining industry. Depending on how long this crisis lasts, the mining industry could see big moves into autonomous mining technologies in the not-too-distant future.”


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