Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 75, Issue 3, pp 293–312 | Cite as

Characterisation of Airborne Particles Collected Within and Proximal to an Opencast Coalmine: South Wales, U.K.

  • Tim JonesEmail author
  • Pete Blackmore
  • Matt Leach
  • Kelly BéruBé
  • Keith Sexton
  • Roy Richards


Airborne particulate matter has been collected from within,and proximal to, an opencast coal mine in south Wales. Thiswork forms the first part of a three year project to collectand characterise, then determine the possible toxicology ofairborne particles in the south Wales region. High-resolutionField Emission SEM has shown that the coal mine dusts consistlargely of an assemblage of mineral grains and vehicle exhaustparticles. SEM-EDX has shown that the mineralogical make-up ofthe PM10 is complex, heterogeneous, and constantly changing.These findings are supported by analytical TEM-EPXMA.However, patterns can be determined relating the mineralogicalcomposition of the airborne particles to collection locationsand mining activities within the opencast. At our studyopencast, Park Slip West, quartz, which has known healtheffects, never exceeded 30% of the total collection mass, andaverage levels were much less. Vehicle exhaust emissions wasthe largest source in terms of particle numbers. The mass ofairborne particulate matter within the pit averagedapproximately twice that of outside the pit: importantlyhowever, this higher mass was due to relatively large, andnon-respirable, mineral grains. This study demonstrates that the physicochemical andmineralogical characterisation of airborne particles frommining and quarrying is essential to quantify the respirablefraction, and to identify potentially hazardous componentswithin the PM10.

coal mineralogy opencast PM10 SEM-EDX 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tim Jones
    • 1
    Email author
  • Pete Blackmore
    • 2
  • Matt Leach
    • 2
  • Kelly BéruBé
    • 1
  • Keith Sexton
    • 1
  • Roy Richards
    • 1
  1. 1.School of BiosciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffU.K.
  2. 2.Earth SciencesCardiff UniversityCardiffU.K

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