Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date


Publication Details

This conference paper was originally published as Gillies, S and Wu, HW, Underground Atmosphere Real Time Personal Respirable Dust and Diesel Particulate Matter Direct Monitoring in Aziz, N (ed), Coal 2008: Coal Operators' Conference, University of Wollongong & the Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 2008, 143-154.


An overview is given of two new developments in mine atmospheric monitoring. A new personal dust monitor (PDM) that gives realtime respirable dust readings is discussed. The unit is mounted within the miner’s cap lamp battery and internally measures the true particle mass of dust collected on its filter. Samples are available for later mineralogical analysis and results do not exhibit the same sensitivity to water spray as optically based measurement approaches. The technique achieves microgram-level mass resolution even in the hostile mine environment and reports dust loading data on a continuous basis. The monitor has been evaluated under an Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) grant and is being adopted for statutory mine respirable dust determinations in the US. It has particular application for determining high source locations and efficiency of engineering means of suppression and other approaches to handling the problem. It has been recognised that the PDM’s unique measurement approach has application to allow real time atmospheric Diesel Particulate Matter (DPM) monitoring. The industry has no real time atmospheric DPM monitor at present. Recent surveys in New South Wales and Queensland continue to show significant numbers of miners continue to face full shift DPM exposures in excess of internationally accepted levels. Real time DPM monitoring will allow the industry to pin-point high exposure zones where a number of trucks and other vehicles work or in areas of poor ventilation. Pinpointing of high DPM concentration zones will allow efficient modification of work practices to reduce underground miners exposure. Approaches to design of Tag Boards are also discussed. Some outcomes from mine tests with both these new instruments are discussed.