ACARP ACARP ACARP ACARP
Open Cut

Emissions from Blasting in Open Cut Coal Mining

Open Cut » Environment

Published: June 13Project Number: C18034

Get ReportAuthor: Stuart Day, Merched Azzi, Robyn Fry, Ed Garland, David Jacyna, Hoda Javanmard, Michael Patterson, Anne Tibbett | CSIRO

Large quantities of ammonium nitrate fuel oil (ANFO) explosive are used throughout the open-cut coal mining industry in Australia each year. Individual mines can consume more than 50,000 t of ANFO and related products annually. Apart from dust generated by blasting, under ideal conditions the only gaseous products from ANFO explosives are CO2, nitrogen and water. However, in some cases certain toxic gases including nitrogen dioxide (NO2) may also be formed. It is NO2 that causes the distinctive orange-red coloured 'fume' that sometimes accompanies blasting. These gaseous blast products may be carried considerable distances across the mine or even beyond the mine boundary. Given the proximity of some large mines to populated areas and the potential for worker exposure to toxic gases, there has been concern about the impact of blasting fumes.

The primary aim of this study, ACARP Project C18034, was to monitor NO2 concentrations in the ambient air near the fence line of a large open-cut coal mine in the Hunter Valley. Monitoring was undertaken using ultraviolet differential absorption optical spectroscopy (DOAS), which is an open-path method where NO2 was measured in a light beam about 250 m long. Two monitoring sites were selected at the mine so that the prevailing winds would be expected to carry blast plumes over the monitoring sites.

 

Measurements were made using the DOAS systems from April 2011 until October 2012. Monitoring at a third site adjacent to a mine administration building and carpark were also made over a four-month period between November 2010 and April 2011 using a chemiluminescence NOx analyser.

 

As well as NO2 monitoring, periodic sampling was undertaken in the pit to identify hydrocarbons emitted during blasting.

 

The key findings of this project are detailed in the report.

 

It is clear from the measurements made during this project that there are other significant sources of NO2 apart from blasting. These include emissions from diesel powered equipment operating at the mine and sources beyond the mine boundary such as power stations, vehicle traffic and railway operations. It is therefore suggested that detailed regional air quality modelling be undertaken to better define the ambient NO2 (and other species) levels likely to be encountered across the mine site throughout the year. This would allow ambient levels of a range of pollutant species present on mine sites to be attributed to their actual sources. The contribution of emissions produced from blasting (and other mining activities) could then be reliably compared to those from other non-mining related emission sources.

 

An important prerequisite of reliable modelling is an accurate inventory of emission sources. While some of these are known to within reasonable limits (such as power stations), others are much more uncertain. In particular, estimates of emissions from blasting currently rely on the use of emission factors which are subject to high levels of uncertainty. More detailed research targeted at measuring emissions from individual blasts would significantly improve the current understanding of the true extent of emissions of NO2 and other compounds within the open-cut coal industry.

Underground

Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.

Recently Completed Projects

C27039True Triaxial Strength Of Coal Measure Rocks And Its Impact On Roadway Stability And Coal Burst Assessment

Rocks in the ground are subject to a range of stresses. The stresses...

C3063Underground Vehicle Design Standards And Statutory Implications

The Australian underground diesel vehicle fleet has evolved since di...

C3064Conveyor Belting And Lagging Shear Characteristics - Drive Drum Slip

The primary aim of this project was to investigate the relationsh...

Underground

Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C29021Assessing The Impact Of Consecutive Night Shifts On Night-Time Alertness, Daytime Sleep And Timing Of The Circadian System

In the Australian coal mining industry, most guidelines for managing...

C33037Quantifying Recharge To Groundwater Systems In The NSW Coalfields (Sydney, Gunnedah And Gloucester Basins)

The purpose of this project was to estimate the rate of diffuse rec...

C26029Geological Controls On Fluorine And Phosphorus In Bowen Basin Coals

Increasing global restrictions on fluorine in product coal prompted ...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C27064Dry Beneficiation Using FGX And X-Ray Sorters

Conventional dry processing methods engage a single beneficiation de...

C26010Multi-Sloped Screening Efficiency With Changing Strokes, Frequencies, Feed Solids And Feed Rates-Pilot Plant Study

Optimising multi-sloped screens is often described as an art and the...

C28059Impact Of Water Quality In Coal Handling And Preparations Plants

The objective of this project was to deliver a concise reference do...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C23052Novel Stone Dust Looping Process For Ventilation Air Methane Abatement

This multi‐phase project is concerned with the mitigation of m...

C27054Optimisation Of A Thermal Flow Reversal Reactor For Ventilation Air Methane Mitigation

Ventilation air methane (VAM) generally accounts for 50-85% of the t...

C28076Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids (SAMIL) - Phase 2 Demonstration In A Packed Bed Reactor

An alternative approach to high temperature oxidation of ventilation...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community

NERDDC

National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook

NERDDC