Quarry Dust: Reducing Emissions for a Safer Environment

Are you an employer in the mining industry worried about the impact of quarry dust on the environment?

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide below explaining exactly what this pollutant is, where it comes from, its environmental impact and how you can mitigate this as an employer. 

Read on to learn more:

What is Quarry Dust?

Quarry dust is a by-product of rocks being crushed and ground down during quarrying operations. 

These fine particles are made up of various minerals, including quartz, feldspar, and mica, which are found in the extracted rocks. 

While quarry dust may appear innocuous at first, the small size of its particles can pose a significant risk to human health and the environment.

How is Quarry Dust Produced?

Quarry dust is produced at several stages of the quarrying process. 

First, large boulders are broken into smaller pieces through blasting. Then, crushers further reduce these fragments, generating fine dust. If not properly managed, this becomes airborne and can be the cause of the aforementioned environmental and health issues.

Drilling, grinding, and transporting materials within the quarry also produce dust. The wind easily carries this dust, affecting both nearby areas and those further away.

What is the Impact of Quarry Dust on the Environment?

In the first instance, quarry dust contributes to air pollution; fine particles can stay suspended in the air for long periods, reducing air quality and visibility. These particles can travel far from their source, affecting nearby residential and agricultural areas.

Secondly, quarry dust poses a substantial risk to human health. Prolonged exposure to these fine particles can lead to respiratory issues such as silicosis, bronchitis, and asthma. Workers within the quarrying industry are particularly at risk, but nearby communities can also be affected.

Besides health risks, quarry dust can harm the local ecosystem. It can settle on plants, blocking photosynthesis and stunting growth. Since plants are a primary food source, this impacts the entire food chain. Quarry dust can also contaminate water bodies, changing pH levels and harming aquatic life.

How Can Employers Reduce Quarry Dust Emissions?

Employers in the mining industry are responsible for implementing effective dust control measures to mitigate the negative effects of quarry dust discussed above. Here are several strategies we’d recommend to achieve this:

  • Introducing high-efficiency dust extraction systems is essential. At Dustcontrol, we provide mobile and fixed extractors that capture dust at its source – our advanced filters remove even the finest particles from the air to create a cleaner and safer work environment.
  • Using water sprays and misting systems can help control dust during key points in quarrying. Adding moisture to the air stops dust from becoming airborne, which works especially well during drilling and crushing operations.
  • Enclosing dust-generating equipment and using barriers can greatly reduce the spread of quarry dust. These barriers contain the dust, limiting its travel.
  • Regular maintenance of quarrying equipment keeps it running efficiently and reduces dust. Worn-out parts and faulty machinery can increase dust production, so timely repairs and replacements are essential.
  • Educating employees about the dangers of quarry dust and the importance of dust control measures is critical. Training programmes should cover the proper use of dust extraction systems, the importance of wearing protective equipment, and best practices for reducing dust emissions.

If you’d like to learn more about how Dustcontrol can help your business, get in touch today.

Alternatively, why not read our previous blog on how to collect combustible dust safely?

Dustcontrol UK Ltd., 7 Beaufort Court , Roebuck Way Knowlhill, Milton Keynes MK5 8HL