Mines must save water

Water is one of the major features in International Mining’s July issue – managing it, delivering it, saving it. Over in Australia, a new water truck system that is safe, sustainable and reliable has been developed at Rio Tinto Coal Australia’s (RTCA) Mount Thorley Warkworth (MTW) mine. “The new system uses up to a third less water than the old models, making them less of a drain on environmental resources,” said MTW Maintenance Planner Matthew Little, who developed the water carts. “They are also safer to use as operators can set the water to output evenly during spot sprays and automatically adjust the output according to road conditions and speed. This means operators don’t have to take their eyes off the road.

“The water cannons are now able to spray water and foam 65 m away – three times further than the old models – making them effective first response vehicles in the event of a fire.” He said the increased pressure also means roads are covered in a single pass rather than having to double back as was the case with the old design.”

Another key outcome has been better levels of reliability. The water cart fleet is running at high availability levels, thanks to fewer breakdowns from component failures arising from stress and heat. MTW Maintenance Manager Warwick Gloster said “Given this success, we’re currently speaking to other RTCA sites about getting on board. The water cart design has even travelled to Western Australia, where it’s being used on a mine site over there.”