Controlling DUST

World’s largest coal producer Coal India Limited adopts a dust management system which recognizes and responds to the issue of dust emissions at all stages of mining. This includes identifying sources, estimating dust levels, evaluating probable effects on human health and the environment, and incorporating control measures.

Nigahi opencast mine of Northern Coalfields is probably one of the finest examples of how a mine can control dust. This mine is located in Singrauli district of Madhya Pradesh. With a mineable coal reserve of 483 million tons, its production is linked to Vindhyanchal Super Thermal Power Station of NTPC. The method of mining practiced is a combination of dragline, shovel and dumper. The unique feature of this massive opencast mine is the absence of dust in its operations. One rarely sees an opencast mine with so little dust.

The production, transportation, storage and smart loading of coal at Nigahi are simply flawless.

Nigahi OC Mine has over 27 lakh plants grown in its area of operation. These thick green belt curtains, in the form of tall plants with broader leaves, have been provided at mine boundaries to arrest air borne dusts. This forms an ideal ecological balance for the area. A water reservoir has been created in the mine to ensure ground water recharge, which also doubles up as a rainwater-harvesting unit for the area. This reservoir also serves as a resting point for migratory birds thereby adding more life to the area.
Coal India has explored the possibilities of switching over from conventional drilling to wet drilling mechanism and thus have an effective dust control mining. It use drills with dust extractors to control dust at source. It has installed automatic sprinklers, actuated through sensors at receiving pits. Fixed sprinklers are provided and operated through valve control system at coal bunkers, transfer points and loading points. Water sprinklers of fixed type and mobile type are deployed for dust suppression on haul roads. Approach and service roads to mines are provided with black topping to reduce dust generation.

Coal Handling Plants (CHP) has been fully enclosed to reduce coal dust emission out side it. Coal is loaded to Merry Go Round (MGR) System through Rapid Loading System in moist form and to dispatch by truck, coal is wetted after loading and then covered with tarpaulin. Provision has been made for dust proof cabins in Heavy Earth Moving Machinery (HEMM) and dust masks to employees exposed to dust.

With the rising public awareness of health issues and expectations of environmental performance; controlling dust is an essential part of an environmental management plan. Coal India implements such a plan and reaps benefits for the company in form of cost savings, increased profits, and improved government and community relations as well as easier access to resources and financial support in the future. CIL gives back to the community by protecting our environment for present and future generations.

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