Background

Location Coal Mine, Bowen Basin, QLD Australia
Service Haul Road Dust Suppression
Products GRT: Haul-Loc
Duration January 2019 – Ongoing
Status Live

 

ABOUT THE CLIENT

Our client is a global renowned mining and resource organisation that owns a large scale, long-life open-cut mine in central Queensland. This coal mine has one of the largest coal reserves in the world, amounting to almost one billion tonnes of coking coal. Moreover, the current annual production capacity is more than nine million tonnes of coal and predicted to rise significantly in the next ten years. To properly transport this coal reserves, this mining operation has included over 70 kilometres of haul road, with an average width of 20 metres. Similarly, to the other mining operations around Australia, the challenge of managing dust is prevalent in this coal mine. 

The client had several major concerns in relation to managing haul road dust:

  1. The reduction in visibility on haul roads caused by vehicle generated dust, preventing clear communication between drivers and increased risk of collision.
  2. The respiratory and environmental impact uncontrolled dust.
  3. The current cost of running water trucks and the potential need to purchase additional trucks to keep dust under control with water alone.
  4. The availability of water to manage dust, and pressure to not consume natural resources also in demand from local communities and farming.
  5. Regulatory compliance.

As our client was pressured by the local government to reduce the amount of water used in this particular mining operation, With these pressures in mind, our client ultimately decided to transition towards a more sustainable, environmental, and economical solution for managing and suppressing dust, especially on the mining operation’s haul roads. 

Are environmental regulations, health and safety concerns or potential profit loss a concern right now?

Furthermore, with the total amount of water resource previously available to the mine reducing at a significant pace due to warmer and dryer temperature, untreated water was sourced from other locations at additional costs. However, even with these additional water resources, the mining organisation were not meeting the amount of water previously required to manage dust and thus reducing the application rate on most haul roads on site. As a consequence of reducing the water application rate, dust was generating faster and thus affecting the visibility of many vehicles on haul roads. 

The reduced visibility on haul roads resulted in higher truck stoppages, slower speed events, increased truck maintenance, and overall increased operating costs.

With global experience in dust suppression and dust control, our client approached GRT and commissioned for a small-scale dust control trial using GRT: Haul-Loc. The success and effectiveness of GRT Haul-Loc resulted in the product being rolled out to the rest of the mine as the backbone for dust control.

WHAT IS GRT: HAUL-LOC?

GRT: Haul-Loc is a specially formulated liquid polymer added to watering trucks used to reduce water required for continuous dust suppression by at least 50% and extend the dust suppressing effects four to five times longer than water alone.

GRT: Haul-Loc is designed specifically for the conditions of the mining and resource sectors and can be applied using existing site water trucks, tankers, or sprinklers. GRT Haul-Loc binds surface dust particles and creates a sustainable stable layer resistant to heavy traffic wear, wind erosion, and rainfall impact. 

GRT Solution Into Water Tank

Importantly, GRT: Haul-Loc minimises the impact of dust on staff, the environment, and surrounding local communities as well as providing budget savings through the reduction of water trucks – further reducing the potential for incidents by decreasing traffic volumes. The use of GRT: Haul-Loc helps maintain surface integrity, by keeping the fines that bind unsealed roads on the surface.

As GRT is dedicated to developing sustainable, environmentally friendly products, GRT Haul-Loc is safe, non-toxic, has a low carbon footprint and is biodegradable.

FROM TRIAL RUN TO FULLY ROLLED OUT

GRT was originally approached by the client to conduct a small-scale dust control trial using GRT Haul-Loc on a specific length of haul road located on the mining site. During the dust suppression trial, GRT engineers alongside the client demonstrated the effectiveness of GRT: Haul-Loc in suppressing dust in a variety of different weather conditions. Furthermore, the product’s effectiveness translated to its economic, environmental, and social benefits. Since the results of the trial impressed the client, especially in the areas of reducing cost and managing dust, GRT was commissioned to provide GRT: Haul-Loc for the mining operation. 

GRT AUTOMATED DOSING UNITS

A key part of the rolled out operation is the accurate dosing of the product into the trucks. GRT has developed its own range of dosing units, suitable to the mining environment. As the product is a concentrate, it is dosed at low rates into the water as it fills the water trucks at the standpipe. These units are automated and calibrated to the flow rate in the supply pipe – so when the water pump is turned on, the unit automatically doses the correct amount of product, no matter the truck size. Automated Dosing Units are able to run from several power sources – the ones used by this client are our stand-alone, solar power units.

Haul road dust control

QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE BENEFITS

Now in full operation, the dust management strategy, is demonstrating the effectiveness of the GRT: Haul-Loc product and contributes to a variety of benefits and cost savings. These benefits and cost savings have not only enabled the client to return to their original targets (in areas such as water saving, dust management percentage, and dewatering activities), it has improved the efficiency of their mining operations as well as opened up other opportunities. 

To demonstrate the effectiveness of GRT: Haul-Loc for our client, the standardised mining caterpillar 777 watering trucks were filled with GRT: Haul-Loc treated water and applied on surfaces that would usually require dust management. A key indicator of effectiveness is “turnaround time” defined as the time when a water truck is required to come back and rewet the road to achieve an acceptable level of dust suppression. 

The five primary quantitative benefits of using GRT Haul-Loc are as follows: 

        1. Increasing the turnaround time before reapplication of the dust management application. 

  • While untreated water requires a maximum turnaround time of 60 minutes (noting you might only achieve 15 minutes in daytime summer conditions) in order to properly suppress dust, GRT Haul-Loc treated water improves the turnaround time to more than 210 minutes.

        2. Increasing the total treated area by 250%.

  • By increasing the turnaround time, the total area that can be controlled per turnaround time increases from 100,000m2 to 350,000m2. This means that trucks can suppress an extra 250,000m2 of haul road before being required to resuppress the first area. 
  • As a result, a watering truck including GRT Hau-Loc treated water can suppress more than 2450km2 haul road over the course of a year. This is 1750km2 more than the watering trucks that use untreated water as dust suppressions – these trucks treat an average of 700km2 haul road per year. 

       3. Annual cost savings of more than $1.2 million per caterpillar 777

  • By allowing the GRT: Haul-Loc treated water truck to treat more area per year, the immediate overall cost per treated km2 decreases. Consequently, this increases the benefits realised by the GRT Haul-Loc. For our client, the introduction of GRT Haul-Loc has saved their mining operations more than $8.5 million over the course of the year – just from their caterpillar watering trucks. 
  • Moreover, there is long term opportunity for our client to save up to $20 million if the dose rate ratio is reduced from 1:7000 (ratio of one litre of GRT: Haul-Loc to water) to 1:1,5000. However, these cost savings will be dependent on on-site maintenance and site conditions.

       4. Increased productivity

  • Suppressing the dust with GRT: Haul-Loc and increasing the turnaround time has allowed our client to utilise their trucks more effectively. Instead of having their water trucks focused on suppressing dust, our client now utilises their trucks in other mining operations like dewatering. Implementing GRT: Haul-Loc has enabled our client to increase productivity and generate 250% more value from their watering trucks

       5. Water savings

  • Although the annual water usage for our client has not reduced since the GRT Haul-Loc was introduced, the water usage specifically on dust suppression and management has reduced by more 65%.  

In addition to these quantified benefits, further qualitative and unquantifiable benefits of GRT Haul-Loc include: 

  1. Improved visibility of mining haul roads on site.
  2. Reduced dust-related challenges and issues.
  3. Reduced tire wear and truck maintenance.
  4. Improved air quality and safety for all workers and nearby communities.
  5. Reduced impact of on-site equipment.
  6. Increased transit speeds for all vehicles 

AUSTRALIAN MADE

GRT’s supply chains are secure as we produce our mining products in Australia. We are proud to say this is both the case for GRT: Haul-Loc and our Automated Dosing Units.