Australia’s wet season can present challenges to even the best run mining site. While staff and expensive machinery sit idle waiting for the weather to pass, visibility to improve and haul roads to be repaired, both productivity and profits suffer.
It’s an unavoidable reality of mining. Haul roads require constant watering to keep down wheel-generated dust. This is especially true of large open cut operations. It can become a constant challenge to keep haul roads maintained at an optimal level. If they deteriorate, even to a small degree, so does productivity.
How mines can cut costs and reduce water consumption All mine operators have obligations under the Coal Mining Safety and Health Act 1999, Section 39, or the Mining and Quarrying Safety and Health Act 1999 to establish and adhere to a “Standard Operating Procedure”.
It is extremely common for mines to implement a “do-it-yourself” approach to dust control in materials processing and handling in the hope to save capex and avoid the perceived high costs of implementing a third party system. These DIY systems often deliver disappointing dust control results and eventually become neglected.
Dust-A-Side helps Pilbara iron ore operation* deliver sustainability improvements and productivity gains
*The clients’ name has been withheld for confidentiality reasons. Dust-A-Side have been working with a Western Australian client in the Pilbara region to set up a heavy vehicle road stabilisation and dust control program over a 25km scope.
In many hard rock mines around Australia, particularly in the Goldfields region of Western Australia and large areas of Northern Queensland and South Australia, hyper-saline water is commonly found and managed throughout sites for a variety of purposes.
In a constantly challenging coal market, many mines across Australia are looking for ways to reduce costs wherever possible and also improve productivity.
Specially formulated dust control products, such as polymer binders or lignosulphonates, are widely recognised to be highly effective at suppressing dust on mine haul roads.
It is extremely common for mines to implement an independent, do-it-yourself program for dust control to avoid perceived risks around bringing in new service providers unfamiliar with their operations, or repeating prior experiences with poor performing suppliers.
Most Australian mine operators are actively investigating and implementing ways to reduce their carbon footprint or offset their diesel fuel consumption through various carbon neutral initiatives.
It’s been well documented that underground and open-cut mines have an impact on local biodiversity all the way through the mining life cycle, from exploration to closure.
The road network is the backbone of any mine, so its condition and subsequent productivity needs to be kept at an optimal level. Therefore, high maintenance and operating costs for haul roads is quite often accepted as a necessary burden by the mine operator.
A common and frustrating challenge for underground managers to deal with is ensuring that wheel generated dust from underground haul roads is kept under control for the health and safety of the workforce.
Dust suppression sprays have long been proven to be extremely effective to use for dust control purposes in mining operations as well as civil and construction projects. They can be easily applied to stockpiles or haul roads via water carts or fog cannons.
Water is a precious resource that must be conserved wherever possible in order to improve sustainability outcomes both now and in the future.
How to reduce uncontrolled movements and surface degradation on haul roads caused by overwatering, ongoing wet weather or using the wrong dust control agent
The complications associated with the overwatering of haul roads for dust suppression purposes are well documented. These highlight safety issues such as uncontrolled vehicle movements that can have serious consequences for operators and the mine. These hazards are also present during extended periods of wet weather on haul roads (particularly after long spells of dry weather).
Mines all across Australia are consistently looking for ways to reduce operational costs and increase profits. This becomes particularly pertinent when commodity prices have fallen or are at low points in their cycle as has been the case recently with thermal coal prices reported to be too low to cover production costs.
Mining operations are geared to achieving optimal production on a day to day basis. But efficiency and productivity can be drawn to a sudden halt, or otherwise dramatically slowed, during and after significant weather events.
As many stakeholders in the Australian mining industry are already aware, there have been recent legislative changes aimed at tightening occupational exposure limits (OELs) or workplace exposure standards (WES) for coal and silica dust in mining operations.
Dust is an inevitable part of mining. It’s an unfortunate truth that something so small can cause far-reaching health, safety and environmental impacts.
Controlling dust in underground mines is one of the greatest ongoing challenges for mine operators in Australia.
Controlling dust at open cut mines is one of the greatest ongoing challenges for mine operators in Australia.
The most common dust control method employed by mine operators for haul roads is the regular use of water carts spraying water to keep the surface of the road network damp and free of dust.
It is common for many mines to assume the responsibility of haul road management internally. This includes designing and constructing new haul roads, implementing dust control measures and conducting ongoing maintenance work.
With so much of Australia experiencing record levels of drought, mines across the country are contending with water security issues. Local councils, farmers, industry and mines are all competing for scarce water resources, so the need to implement sustainable water solutions has never been so necessary.
One of the biggest perennial problems faced by underground managers, supervisors, HSE officers and workers themselves is dust suppression. Working in confined spaces with limited atmosphere, and so much activity going on – blasting, drilling, emissions from vehicles hauling overburden over dusty roads, etc – maintaining adequate clean air supply is critical.
When those at the helm of a large infrastructure project at one of Australia’s largest ports* required the primary access road to the project treated for dust and erosion, they had no hesitation in selecting Dust-A-Side Australia – the dust suppression specialists – as preferred supplier. Similarly, Dust-A-Side were quick to recommend AquaTarp as the ideal solution. This solvent-free water and surfactant-based emulsion of latex polymer is specifically formulated for easy application onto
Investing in a haul road is a great way to protect your valuable asset and deliver exceptional ROI. However, in both surface and underground mining, badly designed and poorly maintained haul roads, be they permanent, semi-permanent or temporary, can significantly increase costs.
Introducing Dust-A-Side Australia’s High Pressure Mist System, the innovative way to suppress dust in a wide range of applications. The dust suppression system produces a high concentration of 10-micron fog droplets that can be directed at particular nuisance areas that would otherwise produce high amounts of airborne dust. The super-fine water droplets – a mere 10 millionths of a meter in diameter – provide optimum performance for attracting and suppressing PM10 and smaller dust particles.
Nearly 80% of our coal comes from open cut coal mines (compared with 40% globally). There are many issues associated with particulate matter in open cut mines that MUST be addressed. Several mines’ concentration of this matter often exceed the Ambient Air Quality NEPM standard (50 ug/m3 for standard 24-hour average PM10.) Complaints from members of the public about air quality are widespread and in the majority of cases these complaints are based around coal dust.
After it was closed for a $50 million upgrade, the famous Eagle Farm Racecourse in Brisbane was all set for a grand re-opening. There was only one problem, and it was a big one. Over 22 months of intense construction had resulted in huge stockpiles, with the topsoil in danger of running off or causing a massive dust problem. But dust and soil erosion weren’t the biggest problems…the main issue for the Brisbane Racing Club (BRC) was that it was the week before two of the flagship races of the
An independent study shows a reduction in hourly fuel consumption and road user costs on treated haul roads.
Are your existing haul roads costing you a fortune to maintain, and in the back of your mind are you thinking: ‘There must be a better way?’ Do you really consider Total Road User Costs when making important and often costly decisions about investing in the construction, upgrade and on-going maintenance of your haul roads? Dust-A-Side Australia has the perfect solution…our ‘big picture’ Road Maintenance Savings Estimator.
Mine haul roads are the backbone of any mining operation; designed and constructed to enable haulage of ore, coal, waste or other commodities from ‘Point A’ to ‘Point B’ in the most efficient manner. It therefore goes without saying that haul road maintenance is an essential part of optimising mine production and striving for the lowest possible cost-per-tonne. However, haul road maintenance costs are a huge expense, and most companies are forever looking at ways to reduce this onerous burden.
Mark Twain once famously noted: “Everyone talks about the weather, but no one does anything about it.” He was right about the weather – it’s a huge topic of conversation at mine sites during Australia’s notorious wet season – however there IS something you can do about it. Or at least its after effects on haul roads. It all comes down to road management and innovation…
Regardless of the type of material you are producing (eg coal, ore, etc.) and the physical location of the operation generating the dust (ie. underground or above ground mining) the quickest, easiest and most effective way to control errant dust is with a dust suppression system. A well designed and properly installed dust suppression system is an economical long-term solution that, with regular maintenance, can provide years of trouble-free performance.
Dust-A-Side Australia not only have the most effective dust control products on the market, but we also offer you the most cost-efficient means of purchasing them. As part of our vertically integrated business model, Dust-A-Side has developed a comprehensive in-house bulk transportation capability, to serve our largest projects. Our reliable new fleet provides the most efficient means of transporting a proven range of dust product(s) from manufacturing locations and strategically positioned
If you are involved in civil construction, or your mining operations have resulted in huge exposed stockpiles with the topsoil in danger of erosion, run-off or causing a massive dust problem, there’s one proven product to bear in mind… AquaTarp from Dust-A-Side Australia.
The Date: May 1997. The Place: Blackwater, QLD. The Location: The Blackwater Mine Haul Road The Incident: A water truck was operating on the haul road. Unbeknown to the truck driver, a light vehicle (4WD) was approaching from behind.
The trouble with haul road construction on mining sites is that the haul roads are seen as only temporary, or at best semi-permanent. As such, they are often built in a hurry, with minimal expertise, and a lot of shortcuts taken to bring them into budget. However, skimping on haul road design and haul road construction can actually have the opposite effect, leading to exorbitant road maintenance costs, prohibitive operational costs and impact upon production rates and safety.
There are many factors affecting the life of your haul road vehicle tyres; quality of the sub-base, camber, temperature, superelevation, and the condition of the running surface such as defects or surface roughness.
There are many methods of dust suppression available in Australia, however the best dust suppression solutions are those that incorporate HydroWet, a concentrated surfactant specially formulated by Dust-A-Side to improve the wetting ability of water, particularly on hydrophobic materials such as coal and other fine ores.
Having spoken to a lot of mining operations managers and superintendents recently, Dust-A-Side Australia have come to realise that there is some confusion as to the difference between Dust Suppression and Dust Prevention We hear comments such as: “But aren’t they the same thing?” and “Can’t we just hose the material down and be done with it?” In this article, we’ll look at the difference between dust suppression and dust prevention, and explain why it is appropriate to use them for different
Many mine managers consider re-sheeting haulroads to be a necessary evil, a task that has to be performed on a yearly basis. A lot of mines factor the cost of re-sheeting into their annual maintenance budgets, accepting it as a “normal” operational expense that affects the total cost of ownership of the asset. In high rainfall areas such as northern Australia, re-sheeting the surface wearing course material– often seen as the ‘sacrificial’ course – has to take place even more regularly. As you
Conveyor dust can be a massive problem for mine superintendents and port managers. There are the inevitable health and safety issues, pressure from the public (particularly around ports) and intense scrutiny by the Environmental Protection Authority. On top of that, there are operational issues. Conveyors are purpose-built to perform in the harshest environments, but adding unnecessary dust and material build up to bearings, motors and other moving parts can lead to breakdowns, malfunctions and
If there’s one thing every mine site superintendent knows about haultruck tyres, it’s: “The more they turn, the more we earn.” That truism is important because with each tyre costing roughly the same amount as a Mercedes Benz, the cost of replacing haul road tyres is one of the major expenditures in any mining operation.
Fog cannons, sometimes known as mist cannons, are fast becoming a popular option for dust suppression at mine sites, demolition sites and construction sites. They are ideal for use in scenarios where visible dust, rather than respirable sized dust, is a major problem. In this article, we’ll look at how fog cannons operate as well as the types of circumstances they are most effectively used in as a dust suppression solution.
Dust-A-Side have designed, installed, commissioned and are currently fine-tuning a dust suppression system at a mine site preparation plant* in Australia. *The clients’ name has been withheld for confidentiality reasons. About the site At the plant, which is an intrinsic part of a 27,000+ hectare mine site, export-quality hard coking coal is processed and made ready to be loaded onto coal trains for the over 350km trip to the coal terminal.