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Big Picture Haul Road Maintenance Costs

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. The mistake many of them make is to look at everything in isolation and not the TOTAL costs of maintaining serviceable roads.

“Look at how much we can save you on chemicals!” they’ll say, conveniently overlooking associated costs, such as water trucks, or ignoring the implications of pot holes on tyre wear and maintenance.

In many cases, there appears to be a distinct disconnect between department costings, such as between Maintenance and Production.

Sometimes costs are factored in at a corporate level, and at other times at site level.
And occasionally, important considerations such as capital expenditure and depreciation are forgotten about entirely.

Minimising TOTAL Road-User Costs

To achieve the minimum total cost solution, you must assess both road maintenance costs AND vehicle operating costs.

Water carts:

The operation of water carts is a major factor affecting maintenance costs. Dust-A-Side Australia can reduce the size of water carts and also the number of water carts in your fleet. Water savings in excess of 90% are also a boon for the environment.


Another direct operational saving is the reduction in Graders. Once again, Dust-A-Side’s maintenance management systems have achieved an amazing 75% reduction in grader fleet numbers required for haul roads.


Many mines re-sheet the surface wearing course material on their haul roads regularly; often annually to prepare for wet season in high rainfall environments. The costs of drilling, blasting, hauling, placing, shaping and compacting this material all needs to be taken into consideration.

By stabilising your haul roads with a waterproof binder, Dust-A-Side can lessen the washout of fines in your roads and eliminate conventional grading practices that waste good road material; reducing your re-sheeting requirements by over 90%.

Rolling Resistance:

Road roughness can dramatically increase fuel and maintenance costs, hamper cycle times, as well as lead to a host of HSE issues. Dust-A-Side’s treated sealed surface can improve rolling resistance by between 20-30% compared with unsealed surfaces.

Fuel Consumption: 

Fuel is yet another obvious expense, and is an area where even a 1% reduction can result in massive savings. Dust-A-Side has been proven to save mines an average of 5% in fuel costs by running on stabilised haul roads.

Wet weather days: 

Wet weather impacts heavily on haul roads, making them non-trafficable for hours and even days at a time. Dust-A-Side’s ‘all weather’ haul road management systems have been proven to drastically reduce wet weather stand-downs and aid road recovery times by up to 12 hours.

Tyre Wear:

With quality haul road truck tyres costing roughly the price of a Mercedes Benz, it pays to milk as much mileage as you can from them. Dust-A-Side can stabilise roads to such an extent, one mine recorded an increase in tyre life from 5,500 hours to 6,900 hours (that’s a 25% increase).

Maintenance Costs: 

It is a proven fact that the quality of haul roads impacts upon heavy mobile equipment maintenance costs. By reducing surface roughness, the life of major components such as struts and chassis can be increased, for example. Furthermore, the life of filters, lubricants, oils and seals will all benefit from lower dust ingress.

In summary, Dust-A-Side Australia can reduce TOTAL Road-User costs for any mining operation, as well as improve the productivity, safety and environmental impact at the same time.

For more information and advice about haul road maintenance cost issues, please feel free to enquire about our Road Management services with one of our experienced engineers. Call 1800 662 387 or simply click here to contact us.