A comparative study of dust control practices in Chinese and Australian longwall coal mines
Mine dust is one of the main hazards in underground longwall mines worldwide. In order to solve the mine dust problem, a significant number of studies have been carried out regarding longwall mine dust control, both in China and Australia. This paper presents a comparative study of dust control practices in Chinese and Australian longwall mines, with particular references to statutory limits, dust monitoring methods and dust management practices, followed by a brief discussion on the research status of longwall mine dust control in both countries. The study shows that water infusion, face ventilation controls, water sprays, and deep and wet cutting in longwall shearer operations are commonly practiced in almost all underground longwall mines and that both Chinese and Australian longwall mine dust control practices have their own advantages and disadvantages. It is concluded that there is a need for further development and innovative design of more effective dust mitigation products or systems despite the development of various dust control technologies. Based on the examinations and discussions, the authors have made some recommendations for further research and development in dust control in longwall mines. It is hoped that this comparative study will provide beneficial guidance for scholars and engineers who are engaging in longwall mine dust control research and practice.