Haul road maintenance costs are a huge expense, and most mining companies are forever looking at ways to reduce this onerous burden.
As such, mining companies can become susceptible to sales pitches from different road stabilisation service providers who claim to be able to offer them “massive” savings on haul road maintenance.
On paper, many of these savings look quite feasible, however most of these schemes fail to take one important factor into account… “the big picture”.
What is often overlooked is the need to factor in the TOTAL costs of maintaining serviceable haul roads and to not just look at everything in isolation.
A common sales pitch which is often used relates to how much money a company can save a mine on dust suppression chemicals. However, this type of sales pitch ignores the associated operational costs such as water trucks. The implications of road defects such as potholes, corrugation and washboards on Tire wear and maintenance are also often ignored.
In many cases, there appears to be a distinct disconnect between department costings, such as between maintenance departments and production departments. Sometimes, costs are factored in at a corporate level and at site level. Occasionally, important considerations such as depreciation are not factored in which can be completely misleading in the decision making process.
Factors that influence road maintenance costs:
The operation of water carts is a major factor affecting maintenance costs.
DUST-A-SIDE HINCOL has the capabilities to reduce the size of water carts used – e.g. from 85,000 litres to 35,000 litres – and the number of water carts used in the mines’ fleet.
Water savings in excess of 90% also provide benefits for the local environment, particularly in arid and semi-arid areas.
Fuel is another expense not to overlook. A 1% reduction in fuel can result in massive savings. DUST-A-SIDE HINCOL has managed to achieve such savings for clients and even slightly more. An average of 5% in fuel bill reduction has been achieved.
Road roughness can dramatically increase fuel and maintenance costs, as well as lead to a host of safety issues. Roads treated and sealed with DASProduct can improve rolling resistance by between 20-30% compared with unsealed surfaces. An improved rolling resistance means a reduction in fuel consumption thus resulting in improved reduction in cost per ton produced on the mine.
Wet weather days
Wet weather impacts heavily on the availability and functionality of haul roads, making them non-trafficable for hours and even days at a time, depending on the type of wearing course used. DUST-A-SIDE HINCOL’s haul road management system gives rise to an ‘all weather’ haul road that has been proven to drastically reduce wet weather stand-downs by up to 12 hours.
Another direct operational saving is the reduction in grader utilisation. Once again, DUST-A-SIDE HINCOL’s primary haul road maintenance program has achieved, on average, a 75% reduction in grader fleet numbers required to maintain untreated haul roads or roads treated with other products.
With quality haul road truck tires being so expensive, it pays to try to get as much mileage as possible from them. DUST-A-SIDE HINCOL has proven to provide quality dust-free and sealed roads for years. In one of the mines where this program has been implemented, the mine recorded an increase in tire life from 5,500 hours to 6,900 hours, which is a 25% increase in tire life.
Maximising TOTAL Road-User Cost Savings
DUST-A-SIDE HINCOL can reduce overall maintenance costs and increase component life as well as improve production cycle times / reduce cost of tons of ore hauled. The bottom line is financial payback.
There are basically four road maintenance programs that can be implemented:
- Ad-hoc management
- Scheduled maintenance
- Maintenance management system (MMS)
- Real-time systems
The first two types of programs are not recommended for optimal results. Only an MMS or a real-time system approach has the potential to minimise total road-user costs.
To achieve the minimum total cost solution, strategies to reduce both vehicle operating costs AND road maintenance costs need to be incorporated together.
Cost savings associated with the adoption of a maintenance management approach are dependent on the hauling operation, vehicle types, road geometry and tonnages hauled.
The adoption of an MMS program for mine haul roads has the potential to generate significant cost benefits when used dynamically, in conjunction with production planning, to optimise mine haul road maintenance activities for combinations of wearing course material, traffic volumes and vehicle types.
For more information and advice about haul road maintenance cost issues, contact DUST-A-SIDE HINCOL on +91-22-23023250 or click here to arrange a no obligation technical consultation and report today.