Development of 'Dustless' Longwall and Development Face

Underground » Health and Safety

Published: August 20Project Number: C26065

Get ReportAuthor: Jon Roberts, Peter Wypych and Vitold Ronda | University of Wollongong

The over-arching objective for this project was to develop 'dustless' mining operations in the key areas of the longwall and the development face. To achieve this, the project was split into two phases:

  • the first phase focusing on the longwall and
  • the second phase looking at the development face.

The project relied on the application and investigation of two key enabling technologies: EnviroMist's high-energy micro-mist nozzles; and innovative use of computational fluid dynamics (CFD).

Phase One

CFD was first used to analyse ventilation flow patterns and potential dust dispersion along the longwall. Site measurements were taken as a part of the investigation to identify significant dust generating events and quantify dust concentrations. From this investigation, multiple areas were identified for application of dust suppression equipment in the form of the EnviroMist high-energy micromist spray technology. Spraying systems were designed using a combination of experimental data collected as a part of the project and through CFD analysis simulating the spray dispersion and interactions with the ventilation flow. The systems designed were implemented and the resulting performance was measured using real time dust monitors with reductions in dust concentrations of 75% at the BSL, 80% during roof support movements and 50% during shearer operations.

Phase Two

CFD modelling was again used to investigate ventilation flow patterns and potential dust dispersion. This analysis allowed the design of a suitable dust suppression system based on experimental data and further CFD simulations investigating the influence of the sprays. The CFD analysis showed significant improvements in the ventilation flow and predicts adequate coverage of the dust generating zone to achieve high capture efficiency.

Overall, the project shows the high capture efficiency of the EnviroMist high-energy micromist sprays and the value of detailed engineering analysis using CFD for the modelling, design, and implementation of effective dust suppression systems. It also can be seen how the developed technology can be adapted or applied to other mines of different capacity, seam height, etc.


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