Coal Age

JUL-AUG 2018

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July/August 2018 19 rock dust continued "The key to acceptance by the mining industry, are the capacity of dry Wright product to become airborne almost in- stantaneously and in sufficient quantities, and its ability to absorb the heat energy from combusting coal particles, to halt the propagation of an explosion," said Clayton Hitchcock, director, Dynamic Resource Solutions. "They have clearly demonstrat- ed that through the CSIR tests." South Africa and Australia have not had the same challenge as the U.S. as far as acceptance. "With any new product, the mine must perform a risk assessment and a change of management policy," Hitch- cock said. "Based on the strength of what we have proven, these tests give the mines the confidence need to implement the use of this product." There are enormous safety and cost benefits for this product, Hitchcock ex- plained. "When the miners spray this product on the rib and roof, it stays there and it doesn't come off until it's needed," Hitchcock said. "The health benefits are self-evident. And, the miners can apply this rock dust any time of the day and it's not going to impact the other operat- ing sections of the mine. For some of the larger longwall mines, they lose anywhere from 200 to 800 tons per hour when they sit idle — that's $40,000 per hour or more." Rock dust was introduced more than 100 years ago, it has greatly improved mining conditions, and now something better has come along, Hitchcok ex- plained. "To say this is what we have been doing for 100 years and it's worked and that's what we will keep doing … well, that's pathetic," Hitchcock said. "Wright Concrete has developed a major improvement. That's what innovation is all about and it should be received with open arms." After six years of meetings and discus- sions about foam-related dust dispersion and suppression, there has been no serious forward movement by NIOSH or MSHA. In this case, a supplier has invested its time and money to prove the product works in the only remaining test facility and they have received no response from U.S. regulators. The results of the double-weak testing show that Wright Mix O2 ARD on average stopped the flame at 125 m. During weak testing, Wright Mix O2 ARD performed better than traditional rock dust in most of the tests.

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