Indirect estimation of emission factors for phosphate surface mining using air dispersion modeling

Dmitry Tartakovsky, Eli Stern, David M. Broday

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


To date, phosphate surface mining suffers from lack of reliable emission factors. Due to complete absence of data to derive emissions factors, we developed a methodology for estimating them indirectly by studying a range of possible emission factors for surface phosphate mining operations and comparing AERMOD calculated concentrations to concentrations measured around the mine. We applied this approach for the Khneifiss phosphate mine, Syria, and the Al-Hassa and Al-Abyad phosphate mines, Jordan. The work accounts for numerous model unknowns and parameter uncertainties by applying prudent assumptions concerning the parameter values. Our results suggest that the net mining operations (bulldozing, grading and dragline) contribute rather little to ambient TSP concentrations in comparison to phosphate processing and transport. Based on our results, the common practice of deriving the emission rates for phosphate mining operations from the US EPA emission factors for surface coal mining or from the default emission factor of the EEA seems to be reasonable. Yet, since multiple factors affect dispersion from surface phosphate mines, a range of emission factors, rather than only a single value, was found to satisfy the model performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)179-188
Number of pages10
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - 15 Jun 2016


  • Dispersion modeling
  • Emission factors
  • Particulate matter
  • Phosphate mining

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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