Dust Suppression Saves Water and Money

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Dust Suppression Saves Water and Money

At first glance, you probably don’t associate controlling dust as a major expense for companies that build and operate industrial roads. However, in fact, it can be a very significant cost for projects with roads that are not properly treated with an effective dust suppressant.

Take for example, the Newmont Mining Corporation.

High dust levels were a concern for Newmont Mining Corporation’s Eastern Operations in the state of Nevada, in the western United States. The mine roads are heavily trafficked by large, heavy trucks and light vehicles. The severe dust raised by this traffic had greatly reduced visibility for the drivers and was a respiratory issue as well.

There were also environmental concerns with chloride runoff.

Initially the mine controlled the dust with a magnesium chloride solution. However, that required several water trucks (30,000 gallons each) to water the roads up to 18 times per day, seven days per week, amounting to over 100 million gallons of water during a 7 month dusty season. Chloride-containing runoff was making its way to nearby Rodeo Creek, and eventually the Humboldt River. The road surface needed to be watered and graded on an ongoing basis. Moreover, the mine also incurred a significant fuel expense for the grader and watering trucks, which produced undesirable greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Eventually, Newmont partnered with an ionic soil stabilization provider to develop and implement a dust suppression strategy using a product containing non-toxic organic binding agents.

Once this binding agent was applied and cured, it rendered the roads surfaces hard, while making the road dust-free and non-slippery for an extended period. On an ongoing basis, as trucks travel the road creating new dust, and eventually spill dusty material on the surface, all that is necessary to maintain good dust control, is a light watering to rejuvenate the product. This process needs to be done relatively infrequently.

This dust-suppression strategy introduced no chlorides into the environment, has kept dust levels low, and has greatly improved driving conditions. Switching to this dust suppressant strategy from a water and magnesium chloride treatment on 7 miles of haul roads reduced water use by 90% or 110 million gallons of water over a 7 month period, equivalent to the water consumption of over 1,300 average U.S. households during that period.

Furthermore, the project also reduced CO2 emissions from fuel consumption by 490 metric tons – equivalent to the CO2 emissions of over 165 average cars on U.S. roads during that period.

Simply put, this new approach led to great operational benefits and significant cost savings for Newmont. The reduction in water use has been dramatic, and the amount of attention that previously was dedicated to the road decreased significantly, enabling the company to use its time and resources elsewhere in the mine to improve productivity.

Interested in learning more about effective dust suppression that saves money and provides for a safer and non-toxic work environment? Read more about RoadBond, a leading binding agent and soil stabilizer.

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