With haul roads on mining sites, it’s often a ‘feast or a famine’ scenario: the surface is either too dry and dusty, or too wet from excessive watering.
Both aspects of haul road safety are problematic, but this article concentrates on the latter – overwatering.
Overwatering haul roads for dust control purposes can often result in an unsafe work environment for truck drivers. It’s a big problem that can lead many different types of incidents, usually as a result of:
- Out of control sliding and skidding
- Corner camber damage (sinking and rutting)
- Collisions on ramps
- Crashes into berms (bund walls)
- Impacts at intersections
- Collisions with other water trucks
Naturally, the problem can be alleviated by mine vehicle drivers adjusting their speed to suit the prevalent road conditions.
Prior to that, the problem can be assuaged by haul road designers reducing the number of steep grades, narrow roadways and tight corners particularly on ramps as well as improving berm design (width, height and thickness).
According to studies conducted in Australia, the design and maintenance of haul roads is integral to surface haulage safety.
As stated in one report: “Over watering (haul) roads leads to maintenance problems and accidents due to uncontrolled movements of vehicles.”
Problems associated with overwatering haul roads
As well as the above-mentioned safety risks, overwatering haul roads:
- Degrades road quality
- Reduces tire traction
- Increases brake stoppage time
- Destabilizes slopes
- Leads to more maintenance/ repairs
- Wastes water
- Facilitates erosion
As well as that, pooled water can soften road bases, potentially causing further washouts and collapsing fill sections and slopes.
The alternative to overwatering: improving the haul road surface
One of the most expensive repercussions of overwatering haul roads is the effect it has on the haul road surface.
Excessive amounts of water washes away the compacted top layer of the wearing course – the fines – and exposes the larger, course rocks below.
These invariably sharp rocks can play havoc with expensive haul truck tires, which will need replacing sooner.
On top of that, graders must be brought in to resurface the road – at great expense in terms of production rates and man hours – plus the fines will need to be replaced.
And finally, the road cannot be used by haul trucks while under repair which leads to costly downtime for a mine.
The solution to these problems is to create a more durable road surface that:
- Requires less watering to start with, and
- Is more impervious to the effects of overwatering.
At DUST-A-SIDE HINCOL, our holistic haul road management solution incorporates the use of DASProduct, a patented emulsion of bitumen in water, to help stabilise haul roads, reduce dust levels and enhance haul road safety.
Thanks to this proven road stabilisation product, the wearing course layer of the haul road is bound together with a bitumen-based binder that reduces the washout of fines and provides an impermeable seal layer that prevents the ingress of water into the sub-layers of the road.
In conjunction with ongoing DUST-A-SIDE HINCOL road management services, water usage for dust control can be reduced by 95%+. This means that the frequency of spraying water for dust suppression purposes is dramatically reduced.
Less frequent application of water for dust control reduces the likelihood of uncontrolled movements occuring and the deterioration of haul roads, therefore making them safer for all road users.
All in all, better quality and drier haul roads will increase productivity.
Mining operations will achieve lower operating costs, lower maintenance costs as well as lower production costs per tonne.
For more information about the dangers of overwatering haul roads and how to avoid it, call DUST-A-SIDE HINCOL on +91-22-23023250 or click here to arrange a no obligation technical consultation and report today.