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Water Conservation in Australian Mines: Dust-A-Side's Sustainable Solutions for Haul Road Dust Control

With the ongoing drought conditions in many regions and record-high temperatures in Australia, mines in the country are facing water security issues. As summer approaches, the drought worsens, posing challenges for miners to operate and conserve water, especially for dust control activities. The need for sustainable water solutions has become crucial as above-average temperatures and below-average rainfall are expected to continue. Consequently, mines have resorted to expensive alternatives, such as carting in water via truck.

One key area where mines can focus on reducing water consumption is on their haul road networks. Traditionally, water is used to treat haul roads in open-cut and underground mining operations to minimize dust emissions from haul truck tires. However, this approach consumes large amounts of water and has negative environmental impacts, as well as increased road maintenance costs.

To help Australian mines to address these challenges, Dust-A-Side offers solutions that significantly reduce water usage on mine roads while effectively controlling dust. It's important to note that these results are not solely achieved by adding a dust suppression product to the water cart. Dust-A-Side recognizes that sustainable and significant outcomes are achieved through high-quality haul road management programs.

As the only quality accredited supplier in Australia for dust control and haul road management, Dust-A-Side has developed two levels of services aimed at creating safer and more cost-effective haul roads that effectively control dust and minimize water usage.

1 - Managed Service: 

Our Managed Service involves the provision of a full-time Project Supervisor to work with and train the client’s operators and manage the establishment and ongoing maintenance of the haul road treatment program aligned with QA processes. A bulk liquids delivery and storage solution is also provided.

Under a Managed Service, clients enjoy the benefits of a controlled establishment and maintenance program that ensures the correct use of dust binders and maintenance reapplications are only conducted when needed.  This service is most commonly used with Dust-A-Side’s organic dust binding polymer - HydroTac.

Managed Service case study:

The chart below illustrates the monthly comparative water usage pre and post implementation of Dust-A-Side Managed Service. Under this solution the mine reduced its water usage by approximately 50%. With no end in sight to the drought, such a reduction will have far-reaching benefits for the local community and environment.


DAS AU Pre and Post Implementation Graph_IMG

The chart below also highlights the additional benefit of implementing a dust control management program under a Dust-A-Side Managed Service arrangement, as opposed to just buying a product. The time period prior to the vertical orange line shows uncontrolled volumes of product use without a consistent and dedicated Project Supervisor managing the process. 

After the vertical line, a full time Dust-A-Side Managed Service was implemented. Product consumption was quickly reduced to target levels for commercial and operational efficiency.

DAS AU Graph

2 - Full Service:

For optimal water saving results and unlocking cost savings in the maintenance of haul road management, Dust-A-Side offers a Full-Service turnkey solution for mines.  The service incorporates the transportation and storage of products, road preparation, road establishment and ongoing maintenance. In comparison with our Managed Service, our Full Service includes the provision of all personnel including on-site supervisors and operators as well as plant and equipment such as water carts and graders. 

Under a Full Service, clients contract the haul road maintenance program to Dust-A-Side and they enjoy the implementation of a QA process that delivers over 90% water consumption savings, safer roads and greater maintenance and operational cost efficiencies. Click here to read more about our haul road management services.

Full Service case study:

The chart below illustrates the significant water usage savings achieved at an Australian open-cut mine that implemented our Full Service offering across parts of their haul road network over a nine-month period of analysis.

Roads which were not being managed by Dust-A-Side were using an average of 850 litres of water per square metre per annum for dust suppression purposes. In comparison, roads which were being managed by Dust-A-Side were consuming only 34 litres of water per square metre per annum.

This equates to a 96% reduction in water usage on a like-for-like basis. This is an incredible result that can be replicated at other mines who are operating in drought ravaged areas. 


DAS AU Monthly Water Usage Graph_IMG

 

 

Looking for ways to reduce water usage at your site? Talk to Dust-A-Side

Dust-A-Side is one of the largest providers of haul road and dust control management solutions to the mining industry in the world. We understand the challenges that mines face operating in remote areas and the need to adopt cost-efficient water saving solutions.

To learn more about our water saving haul road solutions, get in touch with us today or click here to arrange an on-site technical consult and report.