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Suppression of Coal Waste Fires

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The low-grade coal which is the inevitable waste product from coal-mining operations accumulates in huge heaps in coal-mining districts. Bushfires and long periods of sustained high temperatures can ignite these heaps, which then smoke for many years and pollute the environment with unburnt hydrocarbons and sulphurous smoke.

The film gives a scientific assessment of the problem and shows a series of experiments aimed at developing methods to control the burning dumps. It concludes with recommendations for the proper construction and chemical treatment of coal waste dumps.

Produced in 1970.

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17:01:15 | Title over coal mine poppet head
17:01:34 | Wagon of coal raised to surface of underground coal mine, runs toshed
17:02:04 | Coal heaps, coal truck empties load, waste heaps
17:02:20 | Chitter dumped in bush, smouldering, road embankment of chitter,car passing burnt trees, railway siding on coal waste, chitter dumpsmoking, road embankment smouldering, burnt sleepers, smouldering damwalls
17:03:23 | Burnt mine workings, burning dump CU burning chitter
17:04:08 | Bush growing on waste dump, rubbish on dump surface burning, chitterburning in bushfire
17:04:37 | CU side of chitter heap - porous structure
17:04:44 | Bulldozing top of heap, larger rocks roll down
17:05:02 | Fire burning in dump, metal chains and timber in waste, smoke attop of heap, fire burning across top of heap, leaving ash behind
17:05:54 | Well constructed low heap, with gentle slopes, water channel betweenheap and bush
17:06:13 | Bulldozer capping chitter heap, gentle slope
17:06:51 | Sandy material slipping off heap side
17:07:00 | Steep sided heap, burning areas, trench dug in burning heap
17:07:43 | Burning dump, rubbish timber trees, dead trees, steep slopes smoulderinguneven surface
17:08:38 | Researcher surveying dump, map of dump, surface temperature measured.Dump temperature measured using pipes, and probes. Researchers in gasmasks measuring boundary temperatures, surface cracks measured
17:10:58 | Chitter surface scooped off, smoke and flames break out
17:11:34 | Sampling tubes used to analyse fumes, researcher in gas mask, panacross flank of chitter heap
17:12:57 | Temperature distribution in a small dump monitored using thermocouplesand electrical temperature indicator
17:14:04 | Fire suppressant chemicals mixed and sprayed on burning chitterheaps
17:15:12 | Front end loader moves surface burning waste, flames break out.Fire suppressant pumped into seat of fire from fire fighting tanker,
17:16:37 | Soil scooped from bucket, spread on ground, sprayed with wettingagent, surface inspected
17:17:32 | Capped sealed small heap, temperature measurement wires
17:17:45 | Front end loader digging around base of chitter heap, smoothingsmouldering heap, heap sprayed, dense steam emitted, heap capped withsandy soil, base sealed, smoothed
17:19:30 | Large steep heap smouldering, some flames
17:19:59 | Previously tested site, reduced smouldering
17:20:17 | Sprayed capped heap opened with front end loader, chitter not burning,temperature measured capping layer consolidated
17:21:30 | Small smouldering chitter heap, researchers clear around base usingshovels, sides smoothed, thermocouple inserted, heap sprayed with firesuppressant, steam emitted, heap capped with soil, compacted, surfacesprayed with sealing agent
17:23:36 | Opened test heap, chitter not burning
17:23:50 | End