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”.
To this end, more and more mining companies are introducing Fatal Risk Control Protocols (FRCP), and in particular protocols concerning light vehicle journey management.
The most effective FRCPs incorporate traffic segregation to separate light vehicles from other mobile equipment by creating a network of dedicated light vehicle roads (also called LVRs, access roads, access tracks and service roads). Collisions between light vehicles and heavy vehicles on shared roads have occurred with fatal consequences in the past.
Such an approach certainly solves the problem of light vehicles interacting with giant mining trucks on haul roads, however it does create its own set of problems.
Light vehicle roads and access tracks are often designed to go around the perimeter of the haul roads and the boundaries of the mine site – thus causing potential dust problems with neighbouring properties, as well as onsite administration and workshop areas.
Compounding this issue, access roads are invariably too small for conventional mining water trucks to safely navigate on a regular basis, making it difficult to achieve effective dust control outcomes.
Sites that do use water trucks on light vehicle roads typically use heavy, rigid road-going water trucks.
However, mines which pursue this method historically find they are using this basic form of dust suppression on an almost 24/7 basis, particularly during the hotter, dryer months.
Even though water itself is sometimes considered by mines to be ‘free’ to use, constant watering of haul roads for dust control purposes can actually come at a very high cost in the long run.
Based on a network of 20km of roads which are approximately 10m wide, water cart operating costs (for both cart and operator) could total over $1 million per annum, operating on a continual basis.
Such costs can in fact be reduced by implementing more efficient and effective dust control solutions. These solutions not only cut operating expenses but also improve safety outcomes as well as reduce water consumption rates.
The alternative to water carts for dust suppression on light vehicle roads
Rather than relying on constant watering of light vehicle roads for dust control purposes, Dust-A-Side Australia’s solutions are specifically designed to only require application once a week, fortnight, month or even longer once established.
Watering frequency is often reduced by up to 90%, and this could potentially equate to an annual saving of 55%. That doesn’t even take into account the auxiliary costs when multiple contractors are on site.
Other factors such as travel costs (either FIFO or DIDO), and/or accommodation and meals for supervisors and operators would obviously be reduced.
These savings are on top of the reduced road maintenance costs due to the material-binding properties and the waterproofing nature of Dust-A-Side’s proven range of products.
In addition to cost savings, our light vehicle road solutions also:
- Reduce vehicle interactions
- Minimise uncontrolled movements
- Rationalise the number of contractors onsite
- Increase visibility for all road users, and
- Reduce dust levels (thus helping to achieve EPA dust compliance).
Talk to Dust-A-Side about your site’s light vehicle dust control requirements
Dust-A-Side Australia can assist you with your light vehicle roads management at any stage.
Ideally our engineers would like to have input into the actual construction, ensuring they have a strong stable base and durable wearing course, however we can also assist with ongoing enhancement and maintenance of existing roads.
For more information and advice about light vehicle roads, speak to one of our expert team members today on 1800 662 387 or click here to contact us.