International research, using human health and environment protection agency the US Environmental Protection Agency’s emissions factors for unpaved haul roads, indicates that haul trucks generate the most dust emissions from surface mining sites, accounting for between 78% and 97% of total dust emissions, says dust control management company Dust-A-Side.
The company tells Engineering News that most locally available untreated wearing course materials, particularly at opencast mines, exhibit excessive fugitive dust. “The legislation based on the ‘polluter pays’ principle has clamped down on most mines, forcing them to either comply with legislation, face heavy fines or be closed down,” says Dust-A-Side corporate marketing manager Lolly Chibi.
She tells Engineering News that controlling dust through regularly applying water on most haul roads at opencast mines, including construction sites, is problematic.
“The evaporation rate of dust-allaying water is high. Once the water is applied onto the road, it evaporates; no residual dust binding or dust palliation is evident, and frequent rewatering is therefore necessary.”
Chibi adds that excessive dust emissions can severely affect human health, as it causes lung diseases like pneumoconiosis, bronchitis and emphysema in exposed workers.
She highlights that the Dust-A-Side product range offers solutions that Dust-A-Side has used successfully to treat haul roads for dust suppression in a number of mines globally.
Chibi notes that Dust-A-Side also offers a solution called DasMetrics, a tool that delivers near to real-time haul-road condition monitoring and reporting. “In a large operation, DasMetrics assists in prioritising maintenance schedules, as the live data can be logged every minute and is accessible at any time.”
Chibi says, for 30 years, the Dust-A-Side dust control management system for haul roads proved that it could significantly enhance the profitability and sustainability of a mining operation by reducing operational costs. The immediate benefits include a safer working environment, improved visibility and reduced braking distance for haul trucks.
In addition, Dust-A-Side’s total dust management offering provides effective and consistent dust suppression throughout the year, ensuring that a mine remains within the statutory limits for fallout dust levels.
The Dust-A-Side products also ensure that a mine’s environmental impact is reduced, more than 90% in water savings is achieved (compared with using water-only treatment), hauling cycle time is improved, and the fleet of graders and water bowsers necessary to maintain the roads is reduced. The dust management programme that utilises the Dust-A-Side product, equipment and skilled operators also helps realise an all-weather haul-road driving surface.