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Coal train dust no different from passenger trains: study

AIR quality monitoring data has found little difference between the dust generated by loaded coal trains and passenger trains, according to the New South Wales Minerals Council.

Lou Caruana
Coal train dust no different from passenger trains: study

The pilot monitoring program commissioned by Australian Rail Track Corporation and conducted in accordance with EPA requirements measured air quality at two points in the rail network as different types of trains passed – loaded coal trains, unloaded coal trains, freight trains and passenger trains.

The readings were then compared to one another, as well as being compared to measurements obtained when no trains were passing each of the locations.

The measurements included concentrations of Total Suspended Particulates (TSP), PM10 and PM2.5 (particulate matter with an equivalent aerodynamic diameter of 10 micrometres or 2.5 micrometres).

The data follows scientific wind tunnel tests conducted by Xstrata Coal NSW that indicate the moisture content of the coal types tested makes dust emissions from the surface of loaded coal wagons unlikely during transport from mine to port, NSW Minerals Council chief executive Stephen Galilee said.

“We recognise that this research is preliminary and further scientific data is needed,” he said.

“The mining industry takes concerns about air quality seriously. Along with the power generation industry we have funded the establishment of the Upper Hunter Air Quality Monitoring Network to better understand air quality in the region, and we are working with regulators to reduce dust emissions from coal mines throughout the state.”

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