Tag Archives: dust supression

Midwest’s MineKleen to cut the dust in underground hard-rock mines

Midwest Industrial Supply, a leader in dust control and road stabilisation solutions, has released a new system for dust control in underground hard-rock mines.

The MineKleen® Underground Mine Dust Control System can eradicate up to 95% of dust while reducing water usage by up to 95%, the company says.

The result of years of research in some of the harshest underground mine conditions, the MineKleen system relies on molecular technology for its performance.

“Midwest developed a proprietary chemical formula consisting of a synthetic fluid plus polymeric binder system,” the company explained. “This system binds fines together, creating a pavement-like strength that gets stronger with use.”

Midwest’s proprietary formulation is environmentally safe, verified by the US EPA and several Canadian authorities, Midwest added.

Jim Silva, Midwest’s Vice President of Mining Solutions, said: “MineKleen keeps particulate matter out of the air, enhancing regulatory compliance and the health and safety of mine workers. It helps roads hold up longer, even in heavily used areas.”

The system also includes the MineKleen Sprayer, which, the company says, is a unique distribution system designed specifically for underground mines. It enables the formulation to be applied to roads, backs and ribs at the same time, enhancing productivity.

One mine that tested Midwest’s formula against a generic dust control product used previously, cut costs by 35%, saving nearly $225,000 annually, according to the company. The mine also extended days between applications to 14 days from every three days, decreasing annual applications from 122 to 28. Manhours required for dust control and road stabilisation dropped from 487 to 133, while the surface of the mine roads dramatically improved. Reduced maintenance and less watering boosted worker productivity in moving product out of the mine.

Midwest said: “Mines seek an affordable way of managing dust. For many, watering is the go-to solution. But this compounds the challenges. Regular watering degrades the road by washing away fines (small particles that hold the road together, keeping larger material in place). So, road maintenance and rebuilding costs escalate.”

ADE and Austin Engineering-designed water trucks delivered to Glencore mine

Australian Diversified Engineering (ADE) and Austin Engineering have come together to improve dust control and enhance safety at the Glencore-owned McArthur River mine in the Northern Territory of Australia.

ADE’s revolutionary water spray application technology and Austin’s innovative Stairway Access Tank (SAT) are now embedded in two uniquely designed CAT 789 water trucks, which have a 159,000 litre capacity, on site at the operation.

The zinc-lead-silver mine had contracted EPSA to supply and maintain mobile equipment on site and required two new water trucks to be added to its operations, ADE said. Being mindful of improving dust control and ensuring better safety for its workers, it decided to have the trucks specifically designed for the application at hand.

The exclusive design has produced what is now known as the safest water tank in the mining industry, according to ADE. It is an engineering collaboration of which ADE General Manager, Clive Gray, says has set a new bar for water truck technology.

“Controlling airborne dust on mine sites is incredibly important,” he explained. “It minimises the risks to workers, but knowing just how much water to spray has its own challenges and can also become a hazard, leading to unplanned vehicle movement and, even worse, closing a haul road for many hours.

“We have been manufacturing safety equipment for the mining industry for many years but being able to work together with Austin Engineering has allowed us to deliver an exceptional solution for the McArthur River mine. We feel confident that they will see positive outcomes in terms of improved safety and better dust control very quickly, making this a great investment.”

The water truck-based ADE Spray System is a spray control system that consistently sprays a controlled rate of water onto the ground, regardless of speed, to effectively control airborne dust, according to ADE.

Road friction measurements can be used to determine the maximum safe water coverage rate which, in turn, reduces waste and decreases the risk of an unplanned movement. During operations, the system data logs all spray activities which can be used to generate reports and assess operations.

Gray says it is the ability to both measure and monitor that makes the ADE Spray System such a game changer.

“One of the biggest issues for mine sites is knowing how much water to spray on the road,” he said. “Too much or too little have equal repercussions, with safety issues being the greatest concern.

“Mining operators can quickly and easily monitor and track all aspects of their water truck operations using our on-board data logging system, which effectively cuts costs and improves environmental factors in regards to monitoring water usage.

“By eliminating over and under watering, costs, fuel and water usage are naturally reduced, but it is the safety of the mining workers that is at the forefront of our designs.

“By developing and implementing innovative technologies into mines around Australia we limit the risks involved to mining workers, and that is something we are very proud of.”

Austin’s truck-mounted SAT system, meanwhile, includes several features to improve efficiency, operator safety and truck stability, Austin says. The most obvious external feature of the Austin water tank is a stairway from the top of the tank structure down to a large (137 cm x 259 cm) access port for easy entry and exit for personnel and maintenance equipment to the tank interior. The fill port is located behind the water dam to ensure any overflow flows away from the cab and deck to the rear of the truck, Austin says. This helps significantly improve operator safety and comfort inside the tank.

The custom designed CAT 789-based trucks began their journey in Wyoming, USA, where they were initially designed, before then being manufactured in Batam, Indonesia. The trucks were then assembled in Australia by Austin Engineering before ADE engineers installed its latest safety technology, ADE said.

The trucks were then delivered to the mine site where ADE engineers arrived to ensure all components were running as planned before the trucks started their first day of action.

Global Road Technology keeps mine dust suppression supply chain open

Australia-headquartered Global Road Technology (GRT) says it is continuing to support health and safety in the mining sector through ensuring supplies of its dust suppression materials remain uninterrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As awareness grows of the risks of airborne disease due to dust pollution, Australian state governments in the past 18 months have strengthened legislation to ensure resource companies are applying best-practice methods to ensure the safety of workers and downstream communities.

GRT, despite the global lockdown designed to suppress the spread of COVID-19, is able to continue to assist its remote clients in implementing dust mitigation strategies due to the fact its manufacturing supply chain is highly localised within Australia, enabling it to continue client deliveries while implementing remote support strategies, it said.

Managing Director of GRT, Troy Adams, said the firm is extremely well placed to meet the huge demand across the Australia mining sector to support their requirements during this turbulent time, with a focus on ensuring minimal disruption to their operations.

“Our firm’s products, applications and services are nearly all developed within Australia meaning that we can meet the immediate demand from the resource sector in a fast and cost-effective manner – achieving our core goal of operational and project efficiency, which is now more important than ever,” Adams said.

“Right now, the global supply chain, particularly in an area such as ours requiring advanced manufacturing to produce our products, has been severely impacted and there is a legislative requirement from most of the various state governments across Australia to ensure that dust suppression strategies are implemented across all mining sites. Our core focus, while ensuring the safety of employees, has been to meet our customers’ supply needs to ensure minimal disruptions to production to such a vitally important sector of the country’s economy.”

GRT has developed infrastructure and process solutions for the mining, civil and agricultural sectors that minimise safety issues and the environmental impact of road building, and can be applied across various soil types.

GRT has developed a range of innovative chemical additives – GRT: Haul-Loc, GRT: Activate, GRT: Ore-Loc, and GRT: Wet-Loc – designed specifically for managing and containing dust to protect workers on mine sites and nearby residents and landholders from airborne dust pollution and disease.

“For countries with largely resource-based economies like Australia, these solutions are in high-demand, as it allows clients to operate more efficiently whilst protecting staff, communities and the local environment,” the company said.

GRT General Manager, Daniel Grundy, believes the current disruption has highlighted the firm’s agility and strong supply chain management practices.

“Although our travel to mine sites has been restricted due to the current COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve implemented a number of strategies to support our clients,” Grundy said.

“Innovations like automated dosing units, practices like bulk supply and storage option, in addition to a focus on ensuring reliable on-site pump technologies, are being combined to ensure that our dust mitigation and erosion control strategies remain uninterrupted,” he said. “All of these practices are playing a key role in reducing air pollution and saving water in relatively dry regions of Australia where much of this activity occurs.”

ennomotive challenges developers to supress the dust problem

Chile-based ennomotive recently launched an open innovation challenge to look for IoT solutions to monitor dust contamination in “extreme work environments” like mining.

During this process, 43 applications – including companies, scholars, freelancers, and employees from other companies – participated in the challenge. Six startups from France, India, Argentina, Chile, and Indonesia also proposed an adaptation of their technologies.

As ennomotive explained, there are already some devices in the market specifically designed to monitor air quality in urban settings, but they only measure low level dust concentrations. “The sensors in these devices are not robust enough to operate under extreme industrial conditions since they get dirty very easily, collapse, stop measuring, and need constant maintenance.

“Extreme work environments need easy-to-install and autonomous devices that can measure PM10 particles and 50 mg/m3 concentrations. The minimum number of particles must be 500 mg/m3 and maximum 200 mg/m3.”

IoT devices are an able alternative to solve this problem, ennomotive says, with industrial IoT devices safer, more robust, and reliable for extreme environments (high temperatures, powerful vibrations, dust, humidity, corrosion, wear, etc).

ennomotive said the open innovation challenge ruled out existing commercial solutions due to their lack of robustness (too sensitive to endure extreme environments), reliability (high failure probability for some components) or precision (indirect measuring).

As part of the challenge, three solutions were selected with the following technologies:

  • Autonomous laser interferometer technology with a sensor-cleaning system and Edge computing for local alert-management data processing;
  • Combination of LED sensor and broadband photodetectors, and automatic calibration of the receive paths with mathematical processing; and
  • The development of a new sensor based on light scattering: an Arduino board converts the measurements into intensity relations and sends them to a central server as concentrations.

The first three prototypes were evaluated on site according to measurement quality, maintenance, autonomy, data transmission, etc. The result was a more robust prototype that combined the strengths of the three previous technologies, ennomotive said.

Thanks to the challenge, it was possible to design and evaluate different technologies, prototype, and test in a record time of five months, ennomotive said. “Open innovation has proven to be a very efficient tool to accelerate the development of new products.”

To read more about the winners, follow these links below: