Alliance to streamline mine haul road dust control

By: Brad Lockyer

Presented by
  • Earthmovers & Excavators

Four Australian companies have joined forces to form the Haul Road Optimisation Alliance and help operators walk the thin line between supressing dust in the air and overwatering on mine haul roads.

Alliance to streamline mine haul road dust control
Spraying a mine haul road.

The alliance, made up of Australian Diversified Engineering (ADE), Proof Engineers, RoadSafety Training Services and Reynolds Soil Technologies (RST), says the move will improve both safety and productivity.

Gravel haul roads on mining sites become extremely dusty when trucks are travelling along them all day. The clouds of dust decrease operator visibility, which can cause safety issues. The dust also clogs truck and machinery engines, causing mechanical breakdowns and leading to increased costs and loss of productivity.

To combat this, the dirt roads are sprayed with water to supress the dust. However, many mines are using far more water than is necessary, resulting in roads that are often slippery and dangerous for trucks. On top of that, the wasted water is both an environmental and financial issue for companies.

ADE general manager Clive Gray says recent audits of water trucks and road watering techniques at more than 30 mine sites have revealed that many water trucks are applying 50 percent more water than is necessary.

"If an operation overwaters its haul roads in an attempt to battle dust, it creates the risk of an uncontrolled movement, when a vehicle is involved in a slide or rollover," Gray says.

The alliance’s first step is to use RoadSafety Training Services, a company formed by former and current police forensic crash investigators, to determine how much water can be safely applied to a haul road.

RoadSafety Training Services uses its Global Road Friction Risk Model to determine the amount of water needed to maintain a minimum level of grip after watering, expressed as mm/m2.

Once the amount of water needed is determined, the water is sprayed from a remote-operated ECO Spray Premium truck from ADE, which says is the first spray truck system to allow operators to control a set rate of output.

This rate is also expressed as mm/m2 so it can be matched with the rate determined by the Global Road Friction Risk Model and help to eliminate water wastage.

Aside from ensuring the correct amount of water is used, the alliance also wants to make sure the water itself is as effective as possible. This is achieved with addition of road stabilisation and dust suppressants from Reynolds Soil Technologies.

RST says the solution continues to control dust even after the water has evaporated.

The final piece of the Haul Road Optimisation Alliance is the Proof Engineers’ Mobile Dust Monitor, a tool which monitors wheel-generated dust in real-time, allowing operators to monitor where watering is required.


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