Composition and size of individual particles from a gold mine atmosphere
Faculty of Sciences. Chemistry
Mining science & technology
, p. 111-119
University of Antwerp
Airborne dust particles were collected in a return airway of a South African gold mine using a 7-stage, single-orifice cascade impactor. Between 70 and 130 individual particles were analysed on each stage using automated electron-probe x-ray microanalysis (EPXMA). Particle size and shape parameters are given for different classes of particles sorted by elemental composition. Silicon-rich particles are the most abundant overall, while chlorine-rich particles dominate (up to 80%) in the range 0.21.0 μm. It is shown that EPXMA characterisation of particles can be used to infer relative contributions of various particle sources and dust generating processes to the total dust concentrations in mine atmospheres. An understanding of the nature and source of particles is essential for any source control strategy. We conclude that the EPXMA technique merits inclusion in the repertoire of techniques used for characterising underground dust.