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Radiation results higher for quarries

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) completed a study titled A Survey of Naturally Occurring Radioactive Material Associated with Mining.
 
It sampled materials from 29 mining operations in New South Wales, including 12 quarries and industrial minerals sites. Metalliferous mines and coal mines were also sampled.
 
The purpose of the study was to identify if there may be issues involving NORM arising from mining activities. More than 2000 assays were carried out on materials including quarry products, ore, mineral concentrates, coal, tailings, mine water and process water. The survey also included on-site measurement of radon in some underground mines.
 
In most cases, the activity concentrations of the uranium-238 and thorium-232 decay series radionuclides were found to be consistent with the range expected from soils (20-70 Bq/kg). Activity concentrations in most water samples were low.
 
Overall, the results indicate that most mining operations sampled do not have issues related to elevated levels of NORM. However, in general, the radiation results from quarry product samples were higher than those from metal mines and coal mines.
 
As expected, much higher results were obtained from samples at a small number of mineral sands mines or prospects with monazite or rare earth minerals present. 
 
The report can be found at the ARPANSA website.
 
Source: Rob McLaughlin, FIQA, Inspector of Mines, Mine Safety Operations, NSW Trade & Investment
 

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