Air Pollution and Children’s Health

Here are two articles regarding the effects of air pollution on the health of children. It’s very evident that all that can be done must be done to reduce air pollution!

Please follow the links provided to read the original articles.

Air Pollution and Children's Health

High air pollution exposure in one-year-olds linked to structural brain changes at age 12
by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-01-high-air-pollution-exposure-one-year-olds.html

“A new study suggests that significant early childhood exposure to traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) is associated with structural changes in the brain at the age of 12.

The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center study found that children with higher levels of TRAP exposure at birth had reductions at age 12 in gray matter volume and cortical thickness as compared to children with lower levels of exposure.

“The results of this study, though exploratory, suggest that where you live and the air you breathe can affect how your brain develops, says Travis Beckwith, Ph.D., a research fellow at Cincinnati Children’s and lead author of the study. “While the percentage of loss is far less than what might be seen in a degenerative disease state, this loss may be enough to influence the development of various physical and mental processes.”

Gray matter includes regions of the brain involved in motor control as well as sensory perception, such as seeing and hearing. Cortical thickness reflects the outer gray matter depth. The study found that specific regions in the frontal and parietal lobes and the cerebellum were affected with decreases on the order of 3 to 4 percent.

“If early life TRAP exposure irreversibly harms brain development, structural consequences could persist regardless of the time point for a subsequent examination,” says Dr. Beckwith.

The researchers on the study, which is published online in PLOS One, used magnetic resonance imaging to obtain anatomical brain images from 147 12 year olds. These children are a subset of the Cincinnati Childhood Allergy and Air Pollution Study (CCAAPS), which recruited volunteers prior to the age of six months to examine early childhood exposure to TRAP and health outcomes.

The volunteers in the CCAAPS had either high or low levels of TRAP exposure during their first year of life. The researchers estimated exposure using an air sampling network of 27 sites in the Cincinnati area, and 24/7 sampling was conducted simultaneously at four or five sites over different seasons. Participating children and their caregivers completed clinic visits at ages 1, 2, 3, 4, 7 and 12.

Previous studies of TRAP suggest that it contributes to neurodegenerative diseases and neurodevelopmental disorders. This work supports that TRAP changes brain structure early in life.”

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https://medicalxpress.com/news/2019-09-link-air-pollution-mental-health.html

Studies link air pollution to mental health issues in children
by Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center

“Three new studies by scientists at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, in collaboration with researchers at the University of Cincinnati, highlight the relationship between air pollution and mental health in children.

A study to be published Sept. 25 in Environmental Health Perspectives found that short-term exposure to ambient air pollution was associated with exacerbations of psychiatric disorders in children one to two days later, as marked by increased utilization of the Cincinnati Children’s emergency department for psychiatric issues. The study also found that children living in disadvantaged neighborhoods may be more susceptible to the effects of air pollution compared to other children, especially for disorders related to anxiety and suicidality.

The lead authors of this study are Cole Brokamp, Ph.D., and Patrick Ryan, Ph.D. They are researchers in the division of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at Cincinnati Children’s.

“This study is the first to show an association between daily outdoor air pollution levels and increased symptoms of psychiatric disorders, like anxiety and suicidality, in children,” says Dr. Brokamp. “More research is needed to confirm these findings, but it could lead to new prevention strategies for children experiencing symptoms related to a psychiatric disorder. The fact that children living in high poverty neighborhoods experienced greater health effects of air pollution could mean that pollutant and neighborhood stressors can have synergistic effects on psychiatric symptom severity and frequency.”

Two other Cincinnati Children’s studies were recently published that also link air pollution to children’s mental health:

A study published in Environmental Research found an association between recent high traffic related air pollution (TRAP) exposure and higher generalized anxiety. The study is believed to be the first to use neuroimaging to link TRAP exposure, metabolic disturbances in the brain, and generalized anxiety symptoms among otherwise healthy children. The study found higher myoinositol concentrations in the brain—a marker of the brain’s neuroinflammatory response to TRAP.
The lead authors of this study are Kelly Brunst, Ph.D., a researcher in the department of Environmental Health at the University of Cincinnati, and Kim Cecil, Ph.D., a researcher at Cincinnati Children’s.
A study published in Environmental Research found that exposure to TRAP during early life and across childhood was significantly associated with self-reported depression and anxiety symptoms in 12 year olds. Similar findings have been reported in adults, but research showing clear connections between TRAP exposure and mental health in children has been limited.
The lead authors of the study are Kimberly Yolton, Ph.D., director of research in the division of General and Community Pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s, and Dr. Ryan.

“Collectively, these studies contribute to the growing body of evidence that exposure to air pollution during early life and childhood may contribute to depression, anxiety, and other mental health problems in adolescence,” says Dr. Ryan. “More research is needed to replicate these findings and uncover underlying mechanisms for these associations.””

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

Minerals Council Media Statement

Below is the media statement released by the Minerals Council of South Africa in January calling for the government to address the country’s economic crisis.

Please follow the link to the website and download the article for yourself if you so wish.

https://www.mineralscouncil.org.za/

Minerals Council Media Statement

“MINERALS COUNCIL SOUTH AFRICA CALLS FOR URGENT STEPS BY GOVERNMENT TO
ADDRESS THE COUNTRY’S ECONOMIC CRISIS

Johannesburg, 13 January 2020:

Ahead of tomorrow’s Business Economic Indaba (BEI) with
President Cyril Ramaphosa and other government leaders, the Minerals Council South Africa
would like to highlight the increasing urgency of a range of critical steps needed to salvage and
revive our country’s economy.

The BEI is an annual event hosted by Business Unity SA (BUSA), of which the Minerals Council
is an active member.

Says Minerals Council CEO Roger Baxter: “Investor and business confidence is declining to levels
not seen for many decades. While the situation the country faces today is a consequence of the
decade of mismanagement and corruption of a previous government, today’s political leadership
needs to act with great urgency to turn the economy and our society around”.

The following are some of the areas with which we believe government needs to get to grips.

Power security and Eskom
At the forefront of the constraints on the economy, and on the mining industry, is the insecurity of
power supply and its continuing rapidly escalating cost, and we begin on that issue. But there are
many other policy issues that also need urgent attention. The Minerals Council firmly believes that
the electricity supply crisis is the biggest single risk to the South African economy. Eskom is in a
significant crisis and cannot guarantee reliable electricity supply to meet the country’s needs.
Eskom has been indicating that it needs two years of permanent stage 2 load-shedding to give it
the space to fix certain power stations (including Medupi) back to a better reliability level. This will
be disastrous for the economy unless urgent steps are taken in the short term to encourage
additional private supply from existing and new sources.

As the Minerals Council argued in detail last month as part of a BUSA input to a NEDLAC Executive
Council meeting on the electricity crisis, government needs to act urgently to facilitate the bringing
on stream of and licensing of new private sector power options for embedded generation and
private generation for self-use, but which is fed through the national grid. In addition, government
and Eskom should be contracting in, at the least cost possible any extra renewable energy from
existing wind and solar plant that are sitting idle. The Council argues that government needs to
urgently tackle red tape which is holding up significant additional power that could be brought on
stream to bridge the gap. This red tape includes IRP2019 exemptions, NERSA generating licenses
(especially over 10 MW), environmental and land use authorisations, technical barriers and
agreement to enable wheeling on the national grid at nominal cost. The Minerals Council is not
arguing for total deregulation, but “smart tape” that facilitates investment by the private sector in
generation for our own use.

Eskom is just one state-owned enterprise in need of urgent rehabilitation, but its impact on the
economy is far more severe than any other. New CEO Andre de Ruyter now needs the full backing
of government as shareholder. Eskom requires urgent reforms and restructuring to materially
improve maintenance, improve plant reliability and to get costs under control.
We already have government’s commitment on the restructuring of Eskom into the three elements
of generation, transmission and distribution in terms of President Ramaphosa’s announcement
early in 2019 and in terms of Minister Gordhan’s Eskom restructuring roadmap. We support the
roadmap and it is essential that the restructuring proceeds. But it needs effective executive and
senior leadership to carry it out successfully. There needs to be consistency in leadership and the
Minerals Council is supportive of the ongoing leadership of Minister Gordhan. Changing this now
would be counterproductive.

Finally, Eskom’s debt needs to be drastically and creatively restructured. Ideas for achieving this
will be conveyed.

Fiscal crisis
South Africa’s fiscal metrics have deteriorated significantly over the past decade. The country’s
public debt to GDP ratio has risen from 24% in 2008 to 60% in 2020 and is set to rise further. The
fiscal deficit at 6.5% of GDP is way beyond an acceptable level. Debt servicing costs are growing
at more than double any other area of government expenditure, crowding out funds that should be
invested in education and growth. South Africa is perilously close to falling into a debt trap, one of
the reasons that the country is also in imminent danger of losing its last remaining investment
grade from a ratings agency. This threatens to exacerbate the rate of the fall in per capita GDP
which has been continuing already for some years and will further undermine business confidence,
investment, growth and employment.

The Minerals Council is calling for a more aggressive approach to fiscal consolidation and the
presentation of a budget that forces government to live within its means. There is no scope for
addressing the budget deficit through higher taxes. Personal and corporate taxes, and VAT, are
all already high and are uncompetitive by international standards. While higher taxes on companies
and wealthier taxpayers may win some populist political kudos for government, they would further
damage confidence and growth potential. And, in any event, because of the narrow tax base, they
would not generate more than a tiny fraction of what would be needed.

Solutions lie only in addressing government spending, broadening the tax base (through higher
growth and job creation), stopping the continued waste of resources going into bailing out several
state-owned enterprises and restoring the credibility of SARS. One of the challenges lies in
government persuading its public sector union allies of the need for moderation in the public sector
earnings and jobs numbers sphere. Given that the public sector wage bill accounts for over half of
the national budget, crucial steps to moderate wage driven fiscal pressures need consideration by
all participants. Government needs to also crack the whip on unauthorised expenditure and to
ensure that corruption and malfeasance in procurement and contracting in government and SOEs
is dealt with through proper prosecutions in 2020.

It is to be hoped that the rescue and rehabilitation of SARS will soon begin to mitigate the impact
of the deficit caused by the revenue service’s near implosion in the years till 2018.
Microeconomic and related policy initiatives

The Minerals Council also calls for the urgent implementation of a range of policies and
interventions that would encourage investment and growth. The National Treasury’s economic
strategy paper published in August 2019 is also important initiative whose implementation would
serve this goal:

• Pathways should be created for private competition and private concessioning in critical
network industries (ports, rail, water, gas, energy).
• Urgent steps are required to restore confidence in the criminal justice system and the rule
of law. An urgent crack-down on everything from organised crime to bad driving and petty
crime is needed to restore the rule of law.
• Additional budget allocations to support the SAPS in the fight against crime, but conditional
based on performance objectives.
• The re-establishment of the specialised police units (such as a specialised mining unit).
• While we appreciate the cases launched late last year against several individuals allegedly
party to state capture activities, what is needed is the prosecution of the top political and
business people involved in state capture.
• Urgent steps to continue to restore confidence in the National Prosecuting Authority
including material increases in the budget allocations and re-capacitation of prosecution
and forensic teams to support the new Head of the NPA.
• A 10-a-side business CEO-Economic Cluster of Ministers forum be established to drive the
improvement in South Africa’s WEF Competitiveness Rankings and World Bank Ease of
Doing Business rankings. The target should be to get into the top 25% of competitiveness
and doing business rankings by 2025.
• Every single department, Minister and DG should be required to produce a plan for how
that department will ease the doing of business (help the country improve its
competitiveness rankings) to promote investment in the economy, with monthly feedback
to the Presidency on progress.
• Key policy and regulatory challenges require urgent resolution and certainty (on land
expropriation without compensation and on continuing consequences for previous BEE
transactions in mining).
• Urgent implementation of coordinated efforts to drive the roll out of infrastructure projects.

Conclusion
South Africa’s economic future depends on urgent action from government. The action includes
urgent steps to fast track additional private power generation for self-use and contracting in
additional power from existing solar and wind farms at least cost as short term measures while
meaningful reforms and changes at Eskom are implemented and the ESI is restructured, the
development of a conservative fiscal plan to prevent the country falling into a debt trap and very
specific measures to boost confidence and kickstart higher investment and growth in the economy.
The Minerals Council, and organised business in general, stands ready to work with and partner
government wherever possible and appropriate.”

Charmane Russell

 

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

Dust Storms in Australia

Hail and dust storms have ravaged Australia in the aftermath of the terrible fires.

Here is an article from npr.org – please follow the link below to see the full article.

Dust Storms in Australia

Destructive Hail And A Massive Dust Storm Descend On Fire-Ravaged Australia
January 20, 2020

https://www.npr.org/2020/01/20/797948411/destructive-hail-and-a-massive-dust-storm-descend-on-fire-ravaged-australia

Bill Chappell

“Australia’s southeast was already dealing with the terrible effects of historic bushfires and huge smoke clouds. Then Canberra, Melbourne and other places were hit by golf-ball-sized hail that destroyed car windshields, killed birds and shredded the leaves off trees.

The Bureau of Meteorology in New South Wales, the country’s most populous state, warned residents of “damaging winds, large, possibly giant hailstones and heavy rainfall” as it issued severe thunderstorm warnings in the east and northeast.

The storms also prompted warnings of flash floods — adding another element of risk to areas that have been hit hard by the fires.

In the Australian Capital Territory, which includes the capital city of Canberra, the weather service reported hail Monday measuring up to nearly 2 inches in diameter — accompanied by wind gusts that were near hurricane-strength.

The storm was intense and fast-moving. The territory’s Emergency Services Agency reported receiving a record 1,900 calls for help — more than three times the average for a storm. All of those calls came in after midday, the agency said.

“Lucky I rode my bike today,” Hilary Wardhaugh said on Twitter, posting a video of a parking lot at the National Library of Australia where cars’ rear windshields had been smashed by hail.

“It was like Armageddon, basically,” Wardhaugh tells the ABC. “Unbelievable. There were people running into the library but I’m really hoping that there’s no one caught out in it.”

The hail forced Australian National University in Canberra to close its campus for both Monday and Tuesday, saying it needed to assess damage “to a large number of buildings” and begin repairs.

The dangerous storms came at the end of a weekend that brought a huge dust storm to western portions of New South Wales — another jarring twist in Australia’s summer of extreme weather.

“Day turns into night!” Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology said via Twitter as it posted video of the leading edge of a massive dust storm that was poised to engulf the town of Narromine, some 250 miles northwest of Sydney. The huge storm quickly plunged the area into darkness.

Residents of Narromine and nearby communities had been looking forward to getting some much-needed rain — but as the ABC reports, those parched areas got only a sliver of rain, compared with the torrents that later hit the southeast portion of New South Wales.

Recent rains have provided some relief from Australia’s drought. And they’ve helped firefighters gain new leverage in controlling dynamic wildfires. The bushfires have destroyed more than 2,600 homes since September, and 28 people have died — along with hundreds of millions of animals.

Showing the dramatic difference a steady rain can make for fire-ravaged areas, the actor Russell Crowe posted two images to Twitter Sunday showing his land in New South Wales, which was charred and smoky 10 weeks ago and freshly green on Sunday after heavy rains.

As Australia takes stock of what it has lost in the epic fires, some forests and other important habitats might not be able to recover fully.

“The normal processes of recovery are going to be less effective, going to take longer,” ecologist Roger Kitching of Griffith University in Queensland tells The Associated Press. He adds, “Instead of an ecosystem taking a decade, it may take a century or more to recover, all assuming we don’t get another fire season of this magnitude soon.””

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

Khumbul’ekhaya

South Africa takes mining health and safety very seriously.  Safety and Health Mining.com gives us this information on Khumbul’ekhaya – a health and safety CEO led strategy program.

Khumbul’ekhaya

http://www.safetyandhealthinmining.co.za/ – Link

“Khumbul’ekhaya, which is the Nguni word for “remember home”, is a CEO-led strategy on health and safety that has been developed by the CEO Zero Harm Forum to drive and sustain the mining industry’s pursuit of zero harm.

The emphasis on “home” directly acknowledges that fatalities have the greatest impact on loved ones at home and encourages mineworkers and their managers to bear these loved ones in mind as they go about their day-to-day tasks.

The Khumbul’ekhaya health and safety strategy began as a meaningful conversation about health and safety. On 25 January 2019, 34 industry CEOs and four Minerals Council office bearers gathered for a half-day facilitated event. Called the CEO Heartfelt Conversation, the event aimed to encourage deep and intense introspection into and facilitate engagement on health and safety-related issues in the mining industry. It also aimed to emphasise the personal role CEOs held in turning the industry’s regressive and plateauing health and safety performance around.

While CEOs agreed that improvements in safety and health performance over the past two decades have been significant, they recognised that a step-change is required in order for the industry to achieve zero harm. The result was Khumbul’ekhaya.

The objectives of the Khumbul’ekhaya strategy are to:

-Promote a holistic approach to the elimination of fatalities
-Develop a system of understanding occupational deaths in and beyond employment
-Adopt methods for more effective and competitive training, for example through centralisation and modernisation
-Adopt globally leading practice to learn better and faster from others

As part of its holistic approach, Khumbul’ekhaya complements and supports existing initiatives in place, especially the work being undertaken by the MHSC, the MOSH Learning Hub and the Mandela Mining Precinct.”

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

Impact of the Australian Bush Fires

The Australian bush fires have and will continue to have, a devastating effect on the environment.  Fires, floods, thunderstorms, hail and dust storms have been plaguing Australia in the last few months.  Here is one article that sheds some light on the impact of the fires.

Please follow the links to the original article to read it in it’s completion.

Impact of the Australian Bush Fires

Five Environmental Consequences of Australia’s Fires

Link – https://eos.org/articles/five-environmental-consequences-of-australias-fires

“Australia’s road to recovery may be long: Here’s a developing list of how the fires are affecting glaciers, wildlife, water supplies, and global carbon emissions.

The bushfires in Australia are a never-ending story of loss, tragedy, and record-setting moments.

The fires have claimed the lives of at least 27 people and countless animals and destroyed 2,000 homes—and bushfire season still has 2 months to go.

Even as the fires rage on, the smoke is beginning to clear around the long-lasting environmental impacts of the blazes. Here’s a (nonexhaustive) list of their short- and long-term effects on the environment.

1. Scientists fear an immediate loss of biodiversity in Australia, because many species are endemic to the continent.

The fires are proving deadly for Australian wildlife.

An estimated 1 billion animals have been killed so far, according to scientist Chris Dickman at the University of Sydney. But this number doesn’t include frogs, invertebrates, or bats. Invertebrates, which include insects, earthworms, snails, could be dying by the trillions, according to Science News.

Relief efforts have just begun after fires on Kangaroo Island, whose landscape was called “apocalyptic” by the Humane Society International. The organization said that in a particularly hard-hit portion of the island, they found one living koala among thousands of carcasses of koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, and birds, according to the Guardian.

Many species call Australia their only home, making the threat to their habitat particularly worrisome.

2. Debris from the fires could threaten water supplies.

Cheers broke out in Sydney last week as rain fell lightly on the capital. Rain and cooler temperatures could help tamp down the blazes.

But too much rain, falling too heavily, could spell disaster for Australia’s water supplies.

Ash, soot, and charred vegetation could clog up streams, dams, and beaches, leading to blooms of algae and threatening water quality.

Warragamba Dam outside of Sydney is one cause for concern: The dam supplies water for 3.7 million people, but 80%–90% of the catchment area has burned, National Geographic reports. If heavy rains wash off burned forests in the areas, a torrent of sooty material could choke up its waters and lead to blooms of cyanobacteria.

3. Animals are hungry and ecosystems may grow back differently.

Many animals couldn’t outrun the blazes because the wildfires moved quickly and burned hotter than normal. Drought and high temperatures fanned the flames.
The lucky animals that did survive face a new reality: Their food sources have gone up in smoke. As fire eradicated vegetation on the rocky habitat of brush-tailed rock wallabies in New South Wales, the government air-dropped thousands of carrots and sweet potatoes to supplement the marsupials’ diet.

4. Smoke from the fires is circumnavigating the planet and ratcheting up carbon dioxide emissions.

Smoke billowing from the fires is making its way around the planet, injecting aerosols in the upper atmosphere and increasing carbon dioxide emissions.

Measurements of the ultraviolet aerosol index by NASA satellites last week showed aerosol values at some of the highest levels ever recorded. Larger aerosol values indicate that the smoke is sitting high up in the atmosphere in a layer called the stratosphere. Large pyrocumulonimbus storms above the fires in Australia are acting like chimneys, shooting smoke high into the air as if they were volcanic eruptions or nuclear explosions.

5. The fires are raining soot on New Zealand’s glaciers, which could speed up melt.

A view of the Franz Josef Glacier in New Zealand revealed another consequence of the fires: “caramelized” snow darkened by soot. One Twitter post said that the snow was white just 1 day earlier.

White snow has a high albedo and reflects sunlight at a relatively high rate. The darker the color the snow is, however, the lower the albedo will dip, and the more heat the glacier absorbs.

The Australian reported ashy snowfields in New Zealand in early December. The country is in the middle of summer, so although the high glaciers may get a new coat of snow soon, the lower glaciers might not get one until March.”

 

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

 

Dust Monitoring Training Course 2020

Dust Monitoring Training Course

The next Fallout Dust Monitoring course date is the 11th of February 2020 until the 13th February 2020.
This will be held in Rustenburg.

R4400 per person per day. The course has 3 CPD points if all three days are attended.

If you would like to attend or to send a representative, then please email  chris@dustwatch.com or call 021 789 0847 or 082 875 0209 to reserve a place.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any queries, comments, or suggestions.

Sincerely
Chris Loans

DustWatch CC – Precipitant Dust Monitoring
082 875 0209 or 021 789 0847 (Chris)
083 308 4764 (Gerry)
021 789 0847 (Cape Town)
011 083 8750 (Johannesburg)
+1 832 422 5031 (USA)
0866 181 421 (Fax – SA Only)
www.dustwatch.com

Dust Monitoring Training Course 2020

Dust Monitoring Training Course – action shot!

Dust Monitoring Training Courses for 2020

Dust Monitoring Training Courses for 2020

Dust Monitoring Training Courses for 2020 - Chris Loans

The next Fallout Dust Monitoring course is 11th February 2020 Rustenburg and the other dates at this venue and the Pretoria venue are shown below for the year.

11-13 Feb (Rustenburg)

11-13 Aug (Pretoria)

R4400 per person per day. The course has 3 CPD points if all three days are attended.

If you would like to attend or to send a representative, then please email  chris@dustwatch.com or call 021 789 0847 or 082 875 0209 to reserve a place.

Please do not hesitate to contact me regarding any queries, comments, or suggestions.

Synopsis of Training – Practical 1 Day:

  • Changing DustWatch buckets
  • Basic operational use of the DustWatch units
  • Filtering water from the buckets and collecting the dust on filters.

Synopsis of Training – Theoretical 2 Days:

  • What is fallout dust and how to collect it;
  • Settling velocity and shape of dust particles;
  • Understand how to calculate the fallout dust monitoring results in mg/m2/day and how to interpret these results;
  • Trace element analysis;
  • South African legislation interpretation;
  • Report writing and interpretation of results.

Sincerely

Chris Loans

 

Mining Statistics

Enjoy the read!  Please follow the link to the original article.

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Safety and Health in Mining

STATISTICS
“An increase in fatalities in 2017 – the first regression in 10 years – highlighted the need for further work to be done by all stakeholders to improve health and safety measures in mining.

While several health and safety initiatives led to a 10% improvement in the number of fatalities in 2018, and the lowest number of fatalities recorded for the first half of 2019, mining CEOs are in agreement that more needs to be done.

Since the advent of democracy in South Africa, the health and safety efforts of the mining industry and its partners have paid off in dramatic and literally life-saving ways. Between 1993 and 2016, the industry experienced an 88% overall decline in the number of fatalities, and a 92% decline in fatalities that occurred as a result of falls of ground.

However, in 2017, the South African mining industry’s safety figures regressed for the first time in 10 years. A total of 90 fatalities were recorded, an increase of 17% on the year before, when 73 fatalities took place. In particular, over the latter half of 2017 and the first half of 2018, a spike in the number of accidents related to seismic activity, falls of ground and underground fire incidents was observed.

* Other includes diamonds, chrome, copper, iron ore and all others not specified above

This trend shook the industry and galvanised it into action, with the Minerals Council Board immediately initiating a number of new safety measures. These were largely undertaken through the CEO Zero Harm Forum and included intense scrutiny of the major causes of accidents, the sharing of good practice protocols and additional research, which was conducted by the MHSC. The involvement of the Minerals Council’s members throughout this process was (and continues to be) essential.

Greater awareness of safety and health has led to a 10% improvement in the number of fatalities in 2018 and the lowest number of fatalities recorded in the first half of 2019.

Although this positive trend was reassuring, and was indicative of the positive contribution of the Minerals Council’s various campaigns, every fatality is still one too many. Further collective efforts were necessary, the Minerals Council acknowledged, including deeper engagement by the industry’s CEOs.”

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

Understanding the dust hazard in mines

Dust is a great hazard in mining and is the cause of many health issues.  Please follow the links provided to read the original article.

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Understanding the dust hazard in mines – Miners Health Matters

Understanding the dust hazard in mines

“By its very nature, the cutting and breaking of rocks during coal mining operations produces dust. But some equipment and methods generate more dust than others. This means that across your shift, different jobs come with different levels of respirable dust exposure.

In underground mines

Due to a higher production volume and an enclosed workspace, underground miners have a higher risk of dust exposure, especially in longwall operations, because:

Methods like pre-draining remove moisture, making the coal more prone to generating airborne respirable dust

Operation of the shearer and advancing roof supports are major contributors to airborne dust on longwalls
face slabbing, operation of armoured face conveyor (AFC), coal crushers, and discharge of beam stage loaders (BSL) to the conveyor belt produce additional dust

Workers located on the return side of the shearer and/or advancing supports are at a higher risk
operation of the cutting heads, roof bolting and loading of coal are major contributors of airborne dust in development panels

Cutting stone roof or floor in stone bands in the seam, or during roof bolting or drilling into sandstone, mudstone or dry drilling can result in increased silica exposure.

In open-cut mines

Most workers’ risk level is reduced by working in enclosed, air-conditioned cabins. However, you are at risk of exposure to both coal and silica dust when:

You perform tasks outside of a sealed cabin, particularly where drilling has recently occurred or is occurring

You work in areas where fine drill tailings remain on the ground

You conduct drilling or shot-firing operations, or dry drilling cabin sealing and ventilation measures fail or are ineffective

You don’t keep the cabin clean by wet wiping surfaces, as dust/mud from boots adds to the problem.

You mill and/or grind coal for sample preparation in laboratories

You conduct maintenance tasks on equipment and components that are coated in accumulated fine dust.

Due to these risks, CWP is more common in underground miners, although miners that work above ground have contracted the disease and are at risk where dust levels are not controlled.”

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

Replacing Coal with Gas

We need to think about renewable resources in all areas of life.  We need to take responsibility for our usage of resources in industry and mining.  Please follow the links to read the original article.

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Replacing coal with gas or renewables saves billions of gallons of water Phys.org

Replacing coal with gas or renewables saves billions of gallons of water

OCTOBER 22, 2019
by Duke University

“The ongoing transition from coal to natural gas and renewables in the U.S. electricity sector is dramatically reducing the industry’s water use, a new Duke University study finds.

“While most attention has been focused on the climate and air quality benefits of switching from coal, this new study shows that the transition to natural gas—and even more so, to renewable energy sources—has resulted in saving billions of gallons of water,” said Avner Vengosh, professor of geochemistry and water quality at Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment.

These savings in both water consumption and water withdrawal have come despite the intensification of water use associated with fracking and shale gas production, the new study shows.

“For every megawatt of electricity produced using natural gas instead of coal, the amount of water withdrawn from local rivers and groundwater is reduced by 10,500 gallons, the equivalent of a 100-day water supply for a typical American household,” said Andrew Kondash, a postdoctoral researcher at Duke, who led the study as part of his doctoral dissertation under Vengosh.

Water consumption—the amount of water used by a power plant and never returned to the environment—drops by 260 gallons per megawatt, he said.

At these rates of reduction, if the rise of shale gas as an energy source and the decline of coal continues through the next decade, by 2030 about 483 billion cubic meters of water will be saved each year, the Duke study predicts.

If all coal-fired power plants are converted to natural gas, the annual water savings will reach 12,250 billion gallons—that’s 260% of current annual U.S. industrial water use.

Although the magnitude of water use for coal mining and fracking is similar, cooling systems in natural gas power plants use much less water in general than those in coal plants. That can quickly add up to substantial savings, since 40% of all water use in the United States currently goes to cooling thermoelectric plants, Vengosh noted.

“The amount of water used for cooling thermoelectric plants eclipses all its other uses in the electricity sector, including for coal mining, coal washing, ore and gas transportation, drilling and fracking,” he said.

Even further savings could be realized by switching to solar or wind energy. The new study shows that the water intensity of these renewable energy sources, as measured by water use per kilowatt of electricity, is only 1% to 2% of coal or natural gas’s water intensity.

“Switching to solar or wind energy would eliminate much of the water withdrawals and water consumption for electricity generation in the U.S.,” Vengosh said.

Natural gas overtook coal as the primary fossil fuel for electricity generation in the United States in 2015, mainly due to the rise of unconventional shale gas exploration. In 2018, 35.1% of U.S. electricity came from natural gas, while 27.4% came from coal, 6.5% came from wind energy, and 2.3% came from solar energy, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).”

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