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Impacts of Fines at Morupule Coal Mine, Botswana

Onalethata Saubi
Raymond S Suglo
Bheemalingeswara Konka


Morupule Coal Mine (MCM) classifies fines as coal particles that are less than 3.35 mm in size. Fines are one of the problems MCM is facing and have occasionally led to penalties from some customers. This paper quantifies the fines generated in MCM from the working face to the run-of-mine stockpile and its economic and environmental impacts. Data about the wash plant's production losses were collected through an examination of missed deadlines, stoppages due to tail-end blockages, and conveyor belt breakdowns using company reports. Data on coal dust concentrations were obtained from the mine. It was found that the overall haulage system generates about 27% of the fines of the coal produced monthly. The total monetary loss per shift from production and the wash plant is BWP 418,285. Coal dust concentration underground is kept within acceptable limits due to strict engineering control measures while it exceeds the required levels on the surface and is difficult to control as it is exposed to the atmosphere. As a result, the vegetation around the mining concession is affected by coal dust.


Fine generation; Dust production; Coal degeneration; Economic impact; environmental impact.