Mine Real-Time Personal Respirable Dust and Diesel Particulate Matter Monitoring


An overview is given of two new developments in mine atmospheric monitoring. A new personal dust monitor (DPM) that gives real-time respirable dust readings is discussed. The unit is mounted within the miner's cap lamp battery and internally measures the true particle mass of dust collected on its filter. Samples are available for later mineralogical analysis and results do not exhibit the same sensitivity to water spray as optically-based measurement approaches. The technique achieves microgram-level mass resolution even in the hostile mine environment and reports dust loading data on a continuous basis. The monitor has been evaluated under an Australian Coal Association Research Program (ACARP) grant and is being adopted for statutory mine respirable dust determinations in the United States (US). The monitor has particular application for determining location of high dust sources. it can evaluate the efficiency of engineering means of suppression and other approaches to reducing dust levels. It has been recognised that the PDM's unique measurement approach has application to allow real-time atmospheric diesel particulate matter (DPM) monitoring. The industry has no real-time atmospheric DPM monitor at present. Recent surveys in New South Wales and Queensland show significant numbers of miners continue to face full shift DPM exposures in excess of internationally accepted levels. Real-time DPM monitoring will allow the industry to pinpoint high exposure zones where a number of trucks and other vehicles work in areas of poor ventilation. Knowledge of high DPM concentration zones allows efficient modification of work practices to reduce underground miners' exposure. Approaches to uses of the DPM form of the monitor and the design of tag boards are discussed. Some outcomes from mine tests with both these new instruments are given.


Mining Engineering


Australian Coal Association Research Program
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

Keywords and Phrases

PDM; Mine Atmospheric Monitoring; Personal Dust Monitor; Real-Time Respirable Dust Readings

Document Type

Article - Conference proceedings

Document Version


File Type





© 2008 Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy (AusIMM), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 2008