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Industry urged to take action on dust control ahead of dry heat

Bowen Basin dust
Bowen Basin dust

An industry group is asking coal producers to do their bit to tackle high dust levels caused by a lack of control measures in Central Queensland.

The Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU) is demanding open-cut mines to pull their weight in dust suppression.

Blinding levels

The union claims there is so much dust in the Bowen Basin townships of Moranbah and Bluff that workers cannot see what they are doing.

“Visibility is an issue for workers,” CFMMEU Mining and Energy Queensland President Stephen Smyth said in a public statement. “Excessive dust on site is dangerous for workers if they can’t see what they’re doing, and it increases the risk of respiratory dust disease.”

‘Not fair’

Smyth partly blames open cut mines for dropping the ball on dust control and dust suppression measures.

“It is not fair for mine operators to let communities bear the brunt of poor dust management practices,” he said. “Open cut mines should be stepping up … in the current dry conditions.”

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Prepare for dry weather

He encourages all open cut mines to prepare for a dry spring by reducing their dust output.

“Dust is worse all round in the dry weather but dust blowing off coal mines is a contributing factor to high dust levels in towns,” he said. “In nearby towns, dust can exacerbate conditions like asthma and emphysema.