Safety and health in the Canadian mine environment — an overview of ventilation, dust, radiation and diesel emission research

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 83, No. 944, 1990

Michel G. Grenier and Stephen G. Hardcastle, CANMET, Mining Research Laboratories, Elliot Lake, Ontario

Safety and health issues are and have been in the last decade a very high priority item with all parties involved in the Canadian mining industry. As a result of this high level of concern for workers' safety and health, Canadian mines are at the leading edge of environmental control technology. For the most part, the occurrence of pollutants in mines is unavoidable. Dust from mining operations, airborne radiation, gases and heat from the strata as well as gases and paniculate from diesel engine emissions will undoubtedly be found to some level in most Canadian mines. A lot of work remains to be done, however, in order to bring all Canadian mines at the same level of proficiency when it comes to safety and health. Also, more work is needed in order to maintain our status as world leaders in this field. CANMET's Mining Research Laboratories (MRL) in Elliot Lake and Bells Corners, Ontario, with the cooperation of the mining industry, have contributed to improving environmental conditions in underground and surface mining and milling operations. The extent of collaboration and efforts vary widely from long-term, multi-million dollar projects between several interested parties to smaller projects involving one laboratory and a single mining operation. This paper gives examples of such collaborative efforts and potential future directions as they apply to: mine ventilation analysis using tracer gas techniques, optimization of mine ventilation network efficiency using real-time monitoring and controlled recirculation (heat saving), respirable dust and radiation sampling and control techniques, diesel emission control using regenerative ceramic filters and, finally, the control of sulphide dust explosions and resulting sulphur dioxide production.
Mots Clés: Environment, Safety, Health, Diesel emissions, Ventilation, Emission control.