Exposure to respirable coal dust and respirable crystalline silica dust in underground coal mines is increasingly becoming a concern as a result of the re-emergence of coal mine dust lung disease in New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland. A significant challenge in mitigating dust exposure lies in the better understanding of ventilation and dust behaviour in the gateroad development panels, which can be achieved by a combination of onsite monitoring and computational modelling. Based on site-specific conditions of the underground development panel excavated with a single-pass 12CM30 continuous miner, a three-dimensional computational model was built and verified with onsite dust monitoring data obtained by AM520i and PDM3700 dust monitors. Various development operations and cutting scenarios were then simulated using computational modelling. Modelling indicated that high-concentration dust is mainly distributed on the left side of the miner, particularly in the area approximately 3 m from the heading face. Useful airflow and dust migration data from the models were exported for further data processing to develop an immersive virtual reality training tool to allow the visualisation of ventilation and dust data, and effective communication of Work Health and Safety (WHS) dust control measures for continuous miner operators. This CFD-VR system not only provides new insight into ventilation and dust migration patterns around the continuous miner, but is a powerful tool for understanding best practices for dust controls in development panels, thus improving health and safety.
Ting Ren, Ming Qiao, Jon Roberts and Jennifer Hines, Monitoring and computational modelling of ventilation and dust flow in development panel, Proceedings of the 2023 Resource Operators Conference, University of Wollongong - Mining Engineering, February 2023, 161-169.