UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — To promote the development of dust and occupational health-related science and technologies associated with mining, an international symposium on mine dust and aerosol research is being launched by the Penn State College of Earth and Mineral Sciences in collaboration with the Shandong University of Science and Technology and the International Journal of Coal Science & Technology.
The inaugural International Symposium on Mine Dust and Aerosol Research (ISMDAR) will be held virtually from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Nov. 15 and 16.
The symposium focuses on airborne dust generated during mineral extraction, transport and processing in underground and surface mining operations that puts exposed miners at risk of various respirable diseases.
The symposium will include discussions and presentations from multiple industries, including mining and construction, on both existing dust control technologies and potential innovations. Equal emphasis will be given to sharing best practices across the industries from both research and policy perspectives. A consensus-building roundtable discussion with international stakeholders from Australian, Chinese and United Stated mining operations, as well as regulatory agencies and academia on the future direction for dust research and regulations, will highlight the symposium.
Shimin Liu, an associate professor of energy and mineral engineering at the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering, helped coordinate the multidisciplinary symposium with Penn State’s Energy Institute with the goal to stimulate the exchange of academic ideas and explore potential issues and collaborations.
“Tremendous global efforts are underway to reduce respiratory diseases in miners. However, it is a complex problem that no single industry or group can solve,” Liu said.
No cure exists for most lung diseases like pneumoconiosis, emphysema and silicosis. According to Liu, prevention by reducing dust exposure is key, and more information about the fundamental mechanisms of the dust and aerosol mixture within mine-confined spaces need to be better understood.
“There is a lot we still do not know about the characteristics or the particles. We don’t know ‘which’ controls ‘what.’ We want to understand the other perspective of mine dust and aerosols research or hear from those in the industrial hygienist industry with the hope that mining engineers like myself will hear it and say 'aha.'” Liu said.
“Penn State has a long history of driving dust research, and we are excited to be organizing the first of it’s kind symposium, a forum that brings together such a diverse array of perspectives from industry and academia focused solely on mine dust and aerosol research,” said Sanjay Srinivasan, department head of the John and Willie Leone Family Department of Energy and Mineral Engineering. “Collaboration and bringing together an international community of researchers is the best way forward for solving the dust-related risks associated with mining.”
For registration information, the speaker list, and a schedule of events, visit the ISMDAR website.