A dust control solution that does more than its name

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RainStorm Dust Control, which has a long track record of being on top of mine dust issues, is expanding into Queensland and New South Wales to assist the mining sector. Safe to Work speaks with RainStorm’s eastern states representative.

It is a rare industry sight to see a dust suppression solution excel and be applied to over 10 million square metres of mine roads in the Pilbara, and across western and southern Australia over the past two decades.

RainStorm’s DustMag product provides two key benefits. Firstly, an 80 per cent reduction in operational dust, and a 90 per cent saving on water usage on roads. It addresses two major issues in the mining sector: dust and water.

“When you look at a coal mine, 40–50 per cent of dust is generated by traffic on the haul roads. DustMag has the capability of suppressing the harmful coal dust on the roads,” RainStorm east coast sales manager John Turner tells Safe to Work.

In New South Wales, the state government is bringing forward its plan to enforce a tightened exposure standard for respirable coal dust two years ahead of the national transition date.

Starting February next year, respirable coal dust limits in NSW mines will be kept to a standard of 1.5 milligrams per cubic metre.

Mining companies also face challenges in operating in the state’s drought-prone areas. Water consumption is becoming a key issue in the mining industry.

Turner says water is essential to coal mining, but it is also a finite resource. A key finding from a report prepared by the Natural Economy for the Australian Conservation Foundation this year was that coal mining is a major water user in Australia. It is competing for freshwater resources with other water activities, including water for people.

An example of water consumption can be demonstrated by a NSW coal mine with 455,000 square metres of haul road network.

The operator uses a competitor’s dust suppression products, with 44,000 litres of water cart loads per day. This totals 1.3 million litres of water consumption per day.

The application of DustMag, on the other hand, does not require diluting with water. It is supplied and applied neatly onto the roads, with applications lasting for 10 to 12 weeks before re-application.

No water is required to be applied on the treated surface areas over this period.

Therefore, for the above example, DustMag can save 1.3 million litres of water per day.

DustMag provides a cost-effective long-term solution to dust control and water consumption on any mining operation.

“The running cost for a water cart is close to $600,000 per year for fuel, tyres, maintenance and operator, etcetera,” Turner says.

“In the above example, the application of DustMag would be a cost saving for the client.”

DustMag is unusual in the fact that heavier traffic volumes can increase its lifespan due to the additional compaction benefits released. It will last longer between reapplications on roads with medium to heavy traffic.

Well-designed and maintained haul roads are the key to minimising truck haulage on-road hazards and costs, as well as increasing productivity. On top of this is the reduced interaction between water carts, graders and haul trucks once DustMag is applied. 

RainStorm has channelled more than 30 years of research and development into creating integrated dust control solutions that have proven to increase productivity and safety, unlock cost efficiencies and benefit the environment. With its manufacturing facilities in Western Australia and Victoria, the company covers the Australian mining industry.

RainStorm draws upon its learning and experience to provide tailored solutions for haul roads, access roads, stockpiles, dumps, underground work areas, handling and preparation plants, rail and more.

“With our east coast offices in Victoria and Queensland and head office in Western Australia, RainStorm is able to provide the Australian mining industry with a pit to port solution to their dust issues,” Turner concludes.

This article also appears in the July issue of Safe to Work.

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