Transactions of the Society for Mining, Metallurgy, and Exploration, Inc.
Transactions home

  SME FaceBook SME Twitter SME LinkedIn RSS Feed

Three-dimensional modeling of fugitive dust dispersion in idealized openpit mines

Mining Engineering , 2015, Vol. 67, No. 10, pp. 45-52

Bhowmick, T.; Raj, K.V.; Bandopadhyay, S.


The control of fugitive dust in high-latitude openpit mines is challenging due to unique atmospheric phenomena resulting in complicated flow regimes as well as atmospheric inversion due to the lack of adequate insolation during prolonged winter seasons. In this study, two idealized (one conical and one trapezoidal) three-dimensional openpit mine geometries were simulated for different seasonal conditions using a computational-fluid-dynamics package from Software Cradle. The airflow was solved by Reynolds-averaged Navier-Stokes equations using the standard kappa-epsilon turbulence model. The concept of particle tracking was used to predict the flow patterns of dust particles.

  For various climatic conditions and two different pit geometries, fugitive dust particles varying in size, from PM0.1 to PM10, and concentration were generated at various locations and dispersed by the airflows inside the openpit mine. The amount and location of dust particles inside the pit were reported at various time intervals. In the summer season, airborne dust particles were quickly transported outside the openpit domain. In the winter season, however, the development of atmospheric inversion significantly affected the amount of dust retention inside the openpit domain.