Recent progress and perspectives on coal dust sources, transport, hazards, and controls in underground mines

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Department of Civil, Environmental, and Geospatial Engineering; Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences


Coal dust is a fugitive and combustible pollutant leading to risks of both explosion and air pollution. Dust explosions are one of the most serious potential disasters in coal mining operations. A substantial literature on coal mine safety covers issues related to the origin, distribution, and transport of coal dust. This paper conducted a review of recent theoretical and experimental literature that are related to the current status and progress in coal dust management strategies. Empirical models and simulations have been used to investigate how dust concentration and particle sizes impact dust propagation in areas prone to dust production, such as mechanised mining faces. The key characteristics of coal dust that are vital for their generation, dispersion, and associated risks are summarised. Better understanding of these characteristics can lead to more effective control in coal dust and hence improved health outcomes for workers and reduced risks at an industry-wide level. Some gaps in the research literature were identified, such as those regarding dust-settling and dedusting. Current research efforts are primarily concentrated on systems, such as water injection, spray dust suppression, ventilation, and dust collector. The advantages and limits of different methods for dust management are compared. Biological dedusting, a novel technology that is still in its early stage, was also reviewed. The paper also discussed potential areas of future research that were needed.

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Process Safety and Environmental Protection