In January 2005, Simtars commenced a diesel particulate matter (DPM) monitoring program of underground metalliferous mining operations in Queensland, with the aim of establishing exposure levels across a range of different work groups and areas. At the commencement of the monitoring program, there were 12 underground metalliferous mines operating in Queensland, however several of these were excluded from the program for various reasons including the closing down / winding down of underground operations. At the conclusion of 2005, sampling had been undertaken at a total of nine sites. The commodities being mined at the nine sites sampled was varied, but included gold, copper, silver, lead and zinc.
The program was predominantly focused on the measurement of operator exposures and as such the majority of the samples collected were personal (i.e. worn by the operator of interest). Some static (or fixed position) monitoring was also conducted in conjunction with the personal sampling. However as static samples are not indicative of actual personal exposures, they are not included or discussed in this paper.
In addition to the monitoring of workers, some basic information was gathered at each of the sampled sites, to ascertain the extent of controls and/or management systems used to reduce the potential for operator exposure to diesel particulate matter while working underground.