Trends in Implementation of Longwall Dust Controls

Haney, Robert A.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1995
During the last ten years, longwall mining systems have undergone many changes. Panel widths and lengths have increased. Longwall faces have become more automated. Average production from individual longwall panels has increased from 1,000 to 3,600 tons per shift. To control the dust generation resulting from the higher production, longwall dust control systems have integrated various dust control techniques. Systems designed to control dust generated at the crusher/stageloader, shearer, and supports are common to most longwall faces. A survey was made of the dust controls that are currently in place on all the longwalls in the U.S. This survey addressed the types of controls used to reduce dust generated at the crusher/stageloader, shearer and roof support movement. Additionally, information on face ventilation rates, cutting cycle and level of automation was obtained. The purpose of this paper is to review the dust control practices that have been implemented throughout the United States and to identify those controls that are being used on high production longwall faces. Additionally, a model is used to demonstrate how ventilation and automation affect occupational exposure. Automation of roof support movement can offer some of the greatest reductions in occupational dust exposures. While technically feasible, its full benefit has not been fully realized by the industry. Until technology to fully automate longwall mining systems becomes more reliable, future dust control systems must rely on increased ventilation, application of headgate dust collectors, improved shearer dust controls and improved shield dust suppression systems.
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