Mine site dust control programs - building confidence and certainty with a credible provider


It is common for some of the mines in South Africa to implement an independent, do-it-yourself program for dust control to avoid perceived risks around bringing in new service providers unfamiliar with their operations, or repeating prior experiences with poor performing suppliers.

However, this in-house approach does not always deliver the best possible results for the mine. A lack of internal focus and consistency on the program due to constantly changing operational priorities and a lack of control around the use of dust suppressants can often lead to unnecessary cost blow outs or perceived in-effectiveness of the product. 

As an alternative approach, engaging with an experienced dust control service provider can result in significant benefits for the mine. In fact, engaging with a reputable supplier should provide an experience that features security of product supply, performance guarantees, service support and enabling technologies and processes that provide control and predictive scheduling for future events. The mine does not have to reinvent the wheel and waste limited resources trying to implement an effective dust control program when specialists can do so.  

Dust-A-Side writes extensively about the merits of using outsourced dust control management services – especially in haul road maintenance applications.

This blog dives further into two of the features mentioned of reputable dust control suppliers with (i) providing security of product supply and (ii) using enabling technologies to provide controls and predict future planning events. These are particularly important features to explore in current times where supply chains are stretched, and mines increasingly look to technologies to help automate controls and deliver efficiencies. 

Download: Dust Control Comparison Guide for Mine Roads 

Certainty and consistency of supply of dust control products

Especially now in the  COVID-19 affected world, mines want the best assurances from their suppliers that their supply chain is as robust, ethically sourced and reliable as possible. 

If a vendor’s supply chain for dust control products is impacted by global events and supply becomes intermittent or costs fluctuate wildly, this can have a significant impact on the effectiveness of the program and on the broader productivity of the mine’s operations. 

Unfortunately, many dust control suppliers lack both the real-time monitoring technology needed to plan for future orders and avoid product shortages as well as the capability and capacity for local onshore manufacturing to reduce exposure to supply chain costs/risks offshore.

As a multi-product technology supplier to the South African mining sector, Dust-A-Side represents certainty of supply through span of product offer and economies of scale in the sourcing and on-shore blending of specialised dust palliative binders.  Through its parent group of companies, Dust-A-Side also enjoys direct access to South Africa’s largest importer of raw bitumen for the local manufacture of its effective and industry leading haul road bitumen emulsion DAS Product. In addition to dust free environments, Dust-A-Side clients enjoy consistency of supply and comparatively stable pricing.

Furthermore, mines can best ensure consistency in their supply of dust control products by engaging dust control providers who offer systems that provide predictive analytics for inventory management and product re-ordering so that product wastage, supply lag or shortages don’t occur.


Why real time monitoring of dust control product usage is so important

It's critical in dust control and haul road surface improvement programs that the use of dust control products are controlled and aligned with a site-specific maintenance management plan.

As this article stated in the beginning, uncontrolled, do it yourself dust control programs are common in the industry and typically lack the following:

  • Real time reporting of dust control product volumes on site, frequency, rate, and time of water bowser dosing. Often clients only have delivery records to go by. But this doesn't help the client understand how the product is used once it is on site.
  • A plan or direction on where and when to spray required roads/areas.
  • Storage and set up of dust suppressants separate from the water supply, particularly if there’s only a single water fill point. If there is no separation of product from the water source, a mine loses control of where the suppressant is sprayed.
  • Metered product dosing pumps for controlled, consistent dosage of products into water bowsers and variable settings on the control panel to dose product according to water bowsers tank capacity, seasonality or application (e.g. light vehicle access roads vs heavy vehicle haul roads).
  • Early alerts on low product storage volumes and product reorder reminders.

Without real time product management and monitoring systems, mines run the risk of delivering uncontrolled dust control programs that waste product with intermittent supply,  

For example, in the absence of real time monitoring, the mine may only realise once product tanks are empty that operators have inadvertently been overdosing water bowsers and using more product than planned or that the wrong water bowsers have been using the product by mistake. In these circumstances, the mine is caught off guard with no product to continue its program and time and money is wasted trying to chase additional supply from a vendor who is also none the wiser.

Other common issues that can be missed without the real time information provided by telemetry systems are leaking storage tanks or failed dust control product pumps.

Such problems need to be identified immediately so that they can be efficiently rectified to save a mine both costs and downtime taken to conduct repairs.


Dust-A-Side’s telemetry product monitoring is a critical tool for addressing the points above

Our telemetry systems use battery and solar powered 3G connections to provide real-time data from dust control product storage tanks on site.

By monitoring and reporting on the following via secure website platforms, clients can get real time readings on:

  • Tank volume levels (% capacity used and litres remaining)
  • Number of product loads done on a particular day(s), or per week 
  • Average volume of loads
  • Product volume used
  • Automated alerts when storage volume reaches reorder/redelivery levels

This data and reporting helps us deliver the following benefits:

  • Guidance and redirection of use of products if volumes are too high or too low
  • Maintenance programs are kept on track with expected product use and bowsers loads per day
  • Future product deliveries to site are timed for an uninterrupted supply chain
  • Internal quality standards for project performance and deliveries are improved through our accredited solutions.

Interested in learning more about our on-site telemetry and dust control services?

Operating since 1973, Dust-A-Side is an experienced supplier to mining operations in South Africa and across the world.

We are a major manufacturer and distributor of dust palliatives products, diagnostics tools and material handling solutions  to the mining and related industries in Southern Africa. 

Our shareholder group is the largest importer of raw bitumen with production plants in key strategic areas to help optimise the mines value chains. 

Doing business with Dust-A-Side give our customers peace of mind because they deal with  trained and experienced dust control experts who understand how mines operate  including working safely on-site. 

To request a no obligation technical consultation and dust report, simply click here. 

Download: Dust Control Comparison Guide for Mine Roads