Using the latest dust measuring technology, Weba Chute Systems has been able to demonstrate to platinum mining customers how its custom-engineered chutes significantly reduce dust at transfer points.
“We conducted dust assessments at mines in South Africa and Zimbabwe,” says Izak Potgieter, systems manager at Weba Chute Systems. “The aim was to compare the impact of our designs on material flow and dust levels.”
At the site in Zimbabwe, considerable dust levels were created at bunker discharge chutes. Material of up to 500 mm in size was moving through at a rate of 600 tonnes per hour.
“The material flow was the biggest factor generating dust in the conventional chute, as material was not flowing as evenly as it should,” says Potgieter. “This created a lot of energy for the dust particles to expand into the surrounding atmosphere.”
The installation of the Weba chute – with its engineered design for optimal flow control – reduced the dust levels by about 40%. By controlling the velocity of material, the design not only cuts dust creation but also reduces impact and wear for increased productivity and less maintenance downtime.
At the South African operation, the tests were done at a transfer point in the milling plant where an average tonnage of 190 tonnes per hour was being moved. Despite the use of water sprays, the existing chute was still creating considerable dust. The installation of the Weba chute was able to reduce dust levels by 15%.
“Dust levels have shown to have a serious impact on human health, especially smaller particle sizes of 0,3 micron,” Potgieter says. “Health effects of dust relate mainly to particle size and dust may contain microscopic solids or liquid droplets that are small enough to get into the lungs and cause serious health problems.”
Spores and contaminants associated with dust and aerosol can also adversely impact human health, causing a range of issues from respiratory infections to toxic exposure. Weba Chute Systems develops bespoke solutions for customers’ transfer points, using its experience and years of research and development. When required, discrete element modelling is employed as a verification tool for designs, confirming its suitability before installation.