Exposure to airborne dust in coal mines has caused respiratory disease in coal miners. The causal agent in these diseases remains unknown, although the minerals found in and around the coal seam have been implicated. Toxicological studies designed to establish the effect of different mineral combinations and concentrations are lacking because the mineral content of coal mine dust has not been defined. This paper reports the initial results of a study done to characterize the mineral content of the coal mine dust found in a mine in the Upper Freeport seam in Northern West Virginia. Coal mine dust samples were collected using 4- stage cassette impactors at nine locations in the mine. The samples were analyzed by an x-ray microdiffraction film technique supplemented by energy dispersive scanning electron microscopy. Primary size modes of about 17 to 20 micrometers from the samples collected at the haulageway and the returnside of the continuous miner were found. From the returnside of the roof bolter samples, a primary size mode of 12 to 15 micrometers was measured. The minerals found in high percentages were illite, kaolinite, quartz, and calcite. The distribution of minerals in inter- and intra- location samples showed wide variations. Trends in these variations are presented.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health