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Silica dust at roof bolters

Mining Engineering , 2011, Vol. 63, No. 10, pp. 78-82

Kissell, F. N.


U.A. Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) coal dust compliance data sometimes shows high silica levels at roof bolters. However, it is unclear whether this silica normally originates from the bolter itself or from other dust sources upwind of the bolter. Research studies to answer this question at individual mines have been conducted. However, operational practices vary from mine to mine. Thus, the information gleaned from any one study cannot be accurately extrapolated to describe silica dust sources in most mines. In this paper, three decades of bolter dust research are reviewed. The results showed that, while inadequate maintenance on the bolter dust collection system can result in excessive dust, more likely reasons for high silica levels are inadequate ventilation of the mine entries being bolted and dust traveling downwind from the continuous miner to the bolter. Scrubbers on continuous miners may not be removing as much silica dust as expected.