Technology a ‘new frontier’ for mine dust risk assessment

Staff reporter

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University of Queensland research fellow, Nikky LaBranche, speaks at the AusIMM International Mine Safety Conference 2024
AusIMM conference hears tech helping to close gaps in dust threat understanding

Technology is complicating mining’s respirable dust and particulate measurement picture, but is also giving the industry the advanced tools it needs to change it if the will is there to do so, the 2024 International Mine Health and Safety Conference heard.

University of Queensland research fellow Nikky LaBranche is leading new government-funded attempts to better understand respirable dust and particulate threats in mines, and advance development of analytical tools, as an extension of her PhD work. The threats, particularly in underground mines, have been described as a ticking timebomb for mine owners and, of course, mine workers.

LaBranche said at the conference in Perth, Western Australia, there “remains a considerable gap in addressing potential health risks”.

“New technology is a new frontier” providing an unprecedented level of analytical detail, including a better understanding of varying threats at different mines producing similar products and often similar compliance sampling results.

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