GCRF Mine Dust and Health Network Saldanha Bay Community Engagement on Dust
Thursday, 10 March 2022.

The GCRF Mine Dust and Health Network will be holding a community engagement in Saldanha Bay. For more information on this event please click here. Looking forward to more exciting discussions and engagements in 2022. For a recap of the 2021 presentations please visit the past events section.

International Conference On Aeolian Research (ICAR XI)

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UCT to lead network on tackling mine dust

Breathing in toxic mine dust has had a devastating effect on many mineworkers and communities. Now an innovative network, based at the University of Cape Town (UCT), hopes to open channels of communication and come up with solutions to this pervasive problem.


Past Events

Topic for 3 November 2021: Hazard Identification and Exposure Assessment of Dust Emissions from South African Gold Mine Tailings Sites

The presentation shows how decades of mining in South Africa have resulted in numerous gold mine tailings storage facilities (TSFs) and how these TSFs have contributed to air pollution affecting the human populations residing in their close proximity.

Speaker: Dr. Charlene Andraos

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GCRF Mine Dust and Health Network Technical session @ NACA 2021, 7 October

The Global Challenges Research Fund Mine dust & Health Network and NACA held a technical session on the emissions and impacts of windborne dust from gold tailings storage facilities (TSFs) in the West Rand District.  To find out more about the technical session programme, please click here.

GCRF Mine Dust and Health Network session @ MtM and SAIMM Forum

Topic for 22 September 2021: The Tshiamiso Trust: Origins, Mandate, Uncertainties, Ethical Concerns and Food For Thought

The presentation introduces and provides an overview of the work of the Tshiamiso Trust and the reasons for its establishment. The Trust aims to compensate eligible miners who contracted silicosis and tuberculosis in the course of their work at mines owned by the companies who are party to the Trust deed and settlement agreement.

Speaker: Prof. May Hermanus

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Topic for 11 August 2021: MOSH dust leading practices as critical controls in the South African mining industry

The MOSH Leading Practice Adoption System is a process used by the MOSH Learning Hub to identify, document and promote widespread adoption of dust leading practices across the South African Mining Industry. The previous and current MOSH Dust Leading Practices aimed at assisting the mining industry to achieve the 2024 Occupational Health Milestone on elimination of occupational lung diseases, are highlighted.

Speaker: Mr. Sibusiso Masanabo

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Topic for 30 June 2021: Escalation of Black Lung in the U.S. and a Systematic Approach for Controlling Respirable Dust

Coal workers’ pneumoconiosis (CWP), commonly known as black lung, develops from the inhalation of respirable coal mine dust and is a disabling and potentially fatal lung disease with no cure. Recent health surveillance data indicates that CWP continues to occur at elevated levels.

Speaker: Mr. Jay Colinet

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Topic for 7 April 2021: Organising Fence-line Communities In the Context of Mining

Dust emissions from mining operations and waste dumps pose a risk to the health and quality of life of surrounding or fence-line communities.

Speaker: Mr. Brown Motsau

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Topic for 24 February 2021: Mitigating long-term dust risks from tailings storage facilities: An exploration of opportunities, drivers and barriers for repurposing mine tailings.

Mine tailing storage facilities (TSFs) are a major source of mine dust emissions, both during and beyond the life-of-mine. Reallocation of mine tailings as feedstock for alternative uses offers an opportunity to remove risks of environmental emissions in perpetuity, whilst simultaneously recovering value. This free webinar focused on the development and transfer of innovative technologies for the repurposing of mine dust tailings.

Speakers: Associate Professor Dyllon Randall and Helene-marie Stander

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GCRF Mine Dust and Health Network Technical session @ NACA 2020, 17 November

The GCRF Mine Dust and Health Network technical session, held under the topic “Mine Dust: Recent developments and future trends”, was convened virtually on Tuesday, 17 November 2020 at the NACA 2020 conference. The session, which attracted 130 people from Southern Africa, Australia, and the United Kingdom, was an interactive platform where participants and speakers engaged on the presentations given on the signature themes.

WATCH..The GCRF Mine Dust and Health Network technical session at the NACA 2020 conference.

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The GCRF Mine Dust and Health Network

aims to provide a platform for multiple stakeholders to develop integrated solutions to the polluting effects of dust emitted by mining and its associated operations in mining-intensive developing countries.

Impact statement: Improved quality of life, health and environment of mining-impacted communities

To facilitate a shared and common understanding of the inter-related health risks and mitigation opportunities relating to mine dust by creating safe spaces for open discussion by all stakeholders

This objective is central to the success of this network. Research or discourse relating to mine dust has until now been carried out in disciplinary and sectoral silos with little engagement or discussion between different stakeholders, mainly due to perceived positions of distrust and competing interests. A unique three-tiered network structure involving open forums, special interest and working groups will enable constructive interactions to take place, with safe spaces for open conversations about the issues important to all stakeholders. The network will facilitate information and knowledge sharing and will actively engage stakeholders to use and implement insights gained from network activities..

To develop interdisciplinary research capacity, particularly among early career researchers in developing countries, to provide meaningful inputs to collaborative problem solving and to propose integrated solutions relevant to specific country/population contexts

It is clear from the lack of progress made towards solving issues surrounding mine dust that a collaborative, inter-disciplinary research approach is needed to integrate and share knowledge on, for example, potential dust source and dispersion pathways; significant characteristics of dust that adversely impact the environment and health, monitoring methods and practices; measures to manage dispersion and reduce health impacts, etc. This network brings together researchers from disciplines as diverse as occupational health, immunology, engineering, medical anthropology, geomorphology, law and more. A strong emphasis will be placed on involving early career researchers and students from a range of ODA countries to equip them with the knowledge and skills to deal with challenging real-world problems.

To increase community and regulatory awareness of mine dust related health risks and mitigation measures to devise low-cost solutions which will make previously voiceless communities part of the problem-solving team

Communities close to mines may not be aware of the grave health risks caused by inhaling fine dust particles, ingesting contaminated soils or dermal contact with mine dust. They also may feel they have no recourse to address their living conditions. Giving communities a voice, and similarly informing regulators of the risks and mitigation opportunities open to them will result in practical and enforceable regulations accepted by all stakeholders. The network forum will be open to members of community organisations, regulatory bodies and government organisations, and part of this objective will be to work together to devise low-cost solutions, including developing the evidence they need to translate research into policy. Such evidence will include establishing the burden of disease potentially linked to dust-exposures and the syndemic risk factors that contribute to them.

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Our Students

Network Management Team

  • Shahieda Adams, (PhD)


  • J Von Holdt
    Johanna R von Holdt, (PhD)

    Lecturer, Department of Environmental and Geographical Sciences, University of Cape Town

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