CSIRO, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation

Making coal mining safer, more efficient and greener

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CSIRO’s efforts to help the Australian coal industry improve safety and efficiency and reduce its environmental impact received a boost this week with the allocation of more than A$3 million in funding from the Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP).

The funding package will enable CSIRO Exploration & Mining to undertake nine important research projects.
“We are delighted to work with CSIRO. Their capabilities help us deliver important benefits to the coal industry,” says ACARP Executive Director Mark Bennetts.

“This new funding extends a long and successful history of collaboration between the industry and CSIRO to develop safer and more efficient technologies, such as the Longwall Automation project that has now moved from demonstration to commercialisation.”

“One major project will develop navigation and automation systems for an underground ‘continuous miner’, a type of new, self-steering, remotely supervised mining equipment that will improve both safety and efficiency,”
Dr Guo says.The leader of CSIRO’s ‘Maximising the Value of Mining’ research Theme, Dr Hua Guo, says the new projects cover a wide range of issues that the industry has identified as of current concern.

“One major project will develop navigation and automation systems for an underground ‘continuous miner’, a type of new, self-steering, remotely supervised mining equipment that will improve both safety and efficiency,” Dr Guo says. “It is a natural progression from our previous longwall automation work and we are very excited about it.”

Other projects designed to improve safety and efficiency include; improving dust control on longwalls, designing and building an intrinsically safe geophone for underground coal mining, reducing diesel exhaust emissions underground, estimating pit wall strength, reducing or eliminating dust in draglines, and measuring the performance of low-density explosives for open-cut mining.

Projects to improve the environmental impacts of coal mining will improve gas drainage while reducing coal mine greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce the effect of longwall mining on groundwater systems.
“ACARP is Exploration & Mining’s number one customer,” Dr Guo says.

“The new work will enable us to continue to make a significant contribution to the international competitiveness and sustainability of Australia’s mining industry and the nation’s long-term prosperity.”

ACARP’s mission is to research, develop and demonstrate technologies that lead to safe and sustainable production and utilisation of coal.

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