The University of Newcastle, Australia

Improving Environmental Management Strategies through Characterisation, Visualisation and Evaluation of Dust Emission Sources

Closing Date: 30 November 2019

PhD Scholarship

Exciting opportunity to be a part of the Advanced Mining, Equipment, Technology & Services (METS) Doctoral Training Centre

Coal Mining

“Studies of air quality concentrations around open cut mines indicate particulate deposition occurs over significant spatial distances. The mined commodity comprises only a small fraction of emissions, while soil and clay not necessarily from site activities dominate. Aerosol monitoring indicates particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10) can comprise 25-50% of the particulate distribution. Due to particle/air interaction, dust plumes from mining activities rise, can evade monitoring stations and deposit, with high particulate concentrations over a prolonged period following mining activity. As such, visual triggers for controlling dust are critical. It is also the coarse particulate fraction that is primarily visible, and this tends to deposit near the source. Dispersion and forecasting models used, while linked to latest meteorological forecasting, often rely on empirical emissions factors which seldom capture the resolution necessary to understand the relative contribution of different mining activities on the total emissions levels.

Mining operations close to populated centres, such as those in the Upper Hunter, are exposed to the scrutiny and regular surveillance by the surrounding public. This is uniquely the case when background air quality requires stringent measures to minimise exceedance of regulatory PM and other emissions while maximising operations.

The project involves working with an industry partner in the Upper Hunter, and both the Schools of Engineering and Mathematical and Physical Sciences.”

The objectives of this project are to:

  • Quantify the dust emission levels associated with haul roads, drilling/blasting and wind erosion
  • Identify and characterise the physicochemical properties of the dust sources and plumes
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of bulk conditioning and other dust controls
  • Establish a parametric relationship criteria between mining activities, material characteristics, meteorological conditions, emissions, trigger actions, management controls and coal quality
  • Further develop and enhance a dust dispersion and emission forecasting model incorporating a neural network or other machine based learning methods consisting of these parameters

Additional research will also include:

  • Demonstrating the applicability of the 3D volumetric LiDAR system for evaluating existing dust emissions and the effectiveness of mitigation
  • Site campaigns to monitor dust emissions at the MPO 3 days per week, over 4 weeks (2 weeks pre and 2 weeks post mitigation measures).

PhD Scholarship details

Funding: $27,596 per annum (2019 rate) indexed annually. The living allowance scholarship is for 3.5 years and the tuition fee scholarship is for four years. Scholarships also include up to $1,500 relocation allowance and Overseas Student Health Cover at single rate, for an international candidate. Additional benefits also include allowance for travel to conferences.

Supervisor: Dusan Ilic

Available to: Domestic and International students

Eligibility Criteria

The successful candidate must meet the minimum eligibility criteria for admission.

Application Procedure

Interested applicants should send an email expressing their interest along with scanned copies of their academic transcripts, CV, a brief statement of their research interests and a proposal that specifically links them to the research project.

Please send the email expressing interest to by 5pm on 30 November 2019.

Applications Close 30 November 2019

Contact Dusan Ilic
Phone +61 2 4033 9010

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