Case Study: Respirable dust
Black lung, silicosis, and Progressive Massive Fibrosis (PMF) continue to be a focal point in the US mining industry. In 2019, US Operations conducted 7,755 respirable dust samples on our miners. The process of monitoring and collecting data has progressed and miners now wear a personal dust monitor (PDM). The PDM can provide real time results to the miners, it allows them to alter their work practices and procedures and monitor their dust environment. All employees have been trained on how to read and understand the results. Multiple engineering controls have been taken from the results of the PDM in order to continually assess the atmosphere in which our miners operate, reduce exposure to rock dust, actively manage ventilation controls, and experiment with different equipment to change the particle size of fugitive dust.
One particle the PDM will not measure is quartz, which is inherent in the coal seams and strata that surrounds the coal. Quartz requires a gravimetric sampling device to be measured. Therefore, we conduct engineering samples with gravimetric pumps to gauge our respirable quartz content and have partnered with multiple university geological departments to understand the geology associated with our operations in relation to respirable quartz. This has allowed us to alter and evaluate changes to our mining techniques and mine in areas where less quartz is present. We have committed to continue these important university partnerships in 2020. This will allow Coronado to better understand reserves, evaluate mining methods, participate in advanced PPE studies, and be on the leading edge of reducing exposure to our miners.