Technological advancements continue to change the way the mining industry works. Haul roads are no exception to this trend, and remain as integral to the mine site as always- however, the way haul roads are being managed is changing rapidly.
A spate of fatal incidents and increasing concern over environmental management has put haul road safety under the spotlight; including the effectiveness and efficiencies of dust control and water usage. For a long time, these issues were combatted with independent products, designed to resolve specific problems, but now, products and processes are being developed concurrently, with impressive outcomes.
There are now calls by the NSW Department of Trade & Investment: Mine Safety, for separate haul roads to be developed for light and heavy vehicles. The department also wants mines to implement traffic management systems, proximity detection and collision avoidance systems, surface transport management audits and risk assessments and utilise a surface friction protocol designed specifically for mine haul road networks.
Providing an answer to how much water can safely be applied to a haul road is a protocol developed by RoadSafety Training Services. The protocol classifies mine haul roads using a Global Road Friction Risk Model that specifies a safe water application rate, expressed as mm/m2, so that a minimum level of grip in the road is maintained after watering.
However, mine operators are facing a continuous struggle when trying to balance dust suppression and overwatering. New technology like Proof Engineers’, Proof Mobile Dust Monitor, will provide instant clarity with a tool that monitors wheel-generated dust, one the largest contributors of fugitive dust on a mine site.
Poorly managed haul roads have been the reason for many operations copping heavy fines. Yet, if an operation overwaters its haul roads in an attempt to battle dust, it can create an uncontrolled and an unsafe environment for workers. On a financial level, overwatering can result in increased road maintenance, increased mobile equipment maintenance and legal breaches that can incur serious penalties.
Optimisation for the long haul
Utilising a combination of the Global Road Friction Risk Model, mobile dust monitoring technology and a measurable water truck spray control system can remove the guesswork of the current operation methods – resulting in a safer haul road with less dust and a more efficient use of water.
The ability to manage and consistently apply the correct amount of water to a haul road can result in improved productivity and safety, and significant savings. The modern dust suppressant with its complex polymer chemistry is being continually developed by Reynolds Soil Technologies (RST) to further improve capacity and water usage by controlling dust even after the water has evaporated.
The pieces of the puzzle are coming together and the final integral piece is a water truck that can integrate into the Global Road Friction Risk Model and supress dust without compromising safety.
Australian Diversified Engineering (ADE) has achieved this milestone with the release of ECO Spray Premium. The first water truck spray system that uses a defined input to achieve a measurable output and allows operators to input a set rate expressed as mm/m2, the same format outputted from the Global Road Friction Risk Model
The Haul Road Optimisation Alliance is providing measurable and innovative solutions to the many challenges mine operators face in optimising haul roads; controlling dust, water and safety on site.
For more information on haul road optimisation solutions, download the Haul Road Optimisation Alliance whitepaper here.