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New standard requires a fresh look at dust suppression options

Coal Dust Suppression

From 1 February 2021, all NSW coal mines must achieve a new dust respirable standard of 1.5mg/m3 a reduction from the current standard of 2.5mg/m3, which requires a fresh look at dust suppression options.

Introduction of this new standard is coming 2 years earlier than in other states and territories of Australia.

While employers, unions, government and workers in the coal mining industry support the change, the higher air quality standard will present challenges for the industry in NSW followed by the rest of Australia. This means coal mines need to act now to review current
air quality levels to establish what needs to be changed.

“Each mine and each application requires an individual solution. There’s no such thing as a ‘one size fits all’ approach”, explained Patrick Cooper, one of the directors of Tecpro Australia. He added “Dust suppression is not just about adding more water! You need to assess each site, the dust and the process in order to formulate an implementation plan to deliver optimum benefits for your workplace, your people and for the wider environment”. Mr Cooper should know. He’s one of the dust suppression experts at an organisation that’s been designing, installing and monitoring dust suppression systems since 1982.

Dust Buster: In the Hunter

Fortunately for NSW coal mine operators, there are a wide range of dust suppression options available including:

  • Hi-tech automated fogging systems and monitoring sensors
  • Portable and fixed misting systems
  • Ultrasonic fogging systems
  • Dust abatement cannons
  • Air atomising and hydraulic spray nozzles for conveyors, crushers and loading

Some dust suppression equipment requires clean water, some is designed to handle recycled water while other models are suitable for ship loading applications where water can be pumped direct from the sea, providing flexibility to suit different locations and conserve
water in very difficult remote environments.

Having such a wide range of dust abatement options is a double-edged sword. The variety means dust suppression can be tailored to the specific requirements and challenges of each coal mine. But the diversity of options can be difficult to sort through. That’s one of the reasons why Tecpro Australia offers a Dust Suppression Audit and Strategy Consultation as well as customised solutions based on the client’s designs.

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