1. What are likely to be some of the effects of poor dust suppression management on a mine?
Dangers and/or effects as follows:
a. Reduced Visibility impacting on site safety
b. Increased wear and tear on equipment
c. Potential of fire hazard
d. Drift of dust to neighbouring properties
e. Complaints and law suits from neighbours
f. Respiratory Danger to humans who breath in dust both on your site and also neighbour’s sites
g. Fines from DMR (section 58)
h. Lawsuits by site personnel, DMR and neighbours
i. Potential insurance complications
2. What are typical dust management challenges on an African mine? The same as around the world – they include
a. Achieving a result in dust reduction within a sustainable budget for both capital and running costs
b. Minimizing the use and consumption of water
c. Minimizing the consumption of energy
d. Reliable equipment
e. User friendly and low maintenance equipment
f. Acceptance and understanding by workers about the importance of ongoing dust control
3. What is the level of compliance in mines with prescribed dust management standards?
Not for me to say but there are many instances on record where dust control has been reactive rather than proactive. Sometimes it is only when the big stick is looming that action takes place.
4. Has the recent emphasis on compliance with legislation on mine safety led to high compliance? If not, what are the likely causes of low compliance?
All actions of increased compliance resulting in reduced levels of danger and/or liability are very welcome. If the pendulum has swung from reactive to proactive, this is a good thing. Unfortunately dust control does not directly help increase production of mined product so its importance historically has probably been underestimated at the expense of safety . However in todays world of increased awareness and increased potential liability, it has thankfully moved higher up the list.
5. What are some of the most practical and convenient dust suppression systems mining houses in Africa could explore? Tell us about the recent technology you are aware of?
It can really be split into two categories. They are:
a. Reducing the potential of dust entering the atmosphere. In this respect there are many products available that can be applied to dirt feeder roads and stockpiles etc to reduce the possibility of dust actually entering the air. They all require application and last a finite period after which they have to be re-applied. Our company currently does not operate in that specific field.
b. Where our company operates is to suppress fugitive dust that has already entered the air as a result of product transfer stations, loading and un-loading operations, crushing activity and so on. This is a science on its own and considerable research has been conducted to help manage these scenarios. We have our Waterless Air Separator unit which does a splendid job using next to no water and addresses the removal of dust from the product before the dust enters the air. In some instances and functions fugitive dust is simply unavoidable. At this stage we offer our Dust Cannon units which originate from the Snow Making Industry as we ll as the Dust Dominator unit designed and manufactured in South Africa. Twenty years of knowledge goes into these machines ensuring reliability and durability in the most harsh conditions. Generally these use water as the main ingredient to suppress dust. Today water is a valuable commodity and energy is expensive so when you do use these you need to ensure that your efficiencies are high and that you get the best results possible , all of which our units are able to deliver on handsomely. Mistakenly, some people will perceive dust control to be a random water spray being propelled into the air by a large fan. This cannot be more removed from the truth. Dust control is a science incorporating many engineering factors to ensure maximum efficiencies for minimum costs. There is a very good video worth viewing at http://www.youtube.com/user/coldmistcoolingaus?feature=mhee
6. What advice can you give mines that ignore standard dust suppression practices?
Don’t do it. It is only a matter of time before somebody, somewhere will challenge you if you are not doing the right thing by your workers, neighbours and the environment. Dust is a serious issue with potentially far reaching consequences – it really does need to be properly addressed.