Many mine managers consider re-capping haul roads to be a necessary evil, a task that has to be performed on a yearly basis.
A lot of mines factor the cost of re-capping into their annual maintenance budgets, accepting it as a norm or operational expense that affects the total cost of ownership of the asset.
In high rainfall areas, re-capping the wearing course which is often seen as the ‘sacrificial’ course – must take place even more regularly and can be a costly exercise.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way; re-capping does NOT have to be an annual cost.
With over 40 years’ experience at mine sites globally, Dust-A-Side has perfected the art and science of providing superior haul roads.
We have the technology and the expertise to produce low maintenance haul roads at the lowest possible cost.
Problems associated with re-capping of haul roads
Apart from the initial capital outlay, there are numerous problems associated with re-capping of haul roads which includes but not limited to the following;
- Loss of production during recapping
- Possible safety factors (traffic interactions, road defects resulting in compromised road riding surface)
- Time and cost spent repairing the actual damage
Different mines tackle this problem differently, some take a proactive approach, opting for full replacement of the wearing course annually to prepare for the wet season — especially in high rainfall environments.
Others feel that a better strategy is to re-cap after heavy rainfalls, when the road has been seriously degraded.
In both cases, it is a substantial cost to the mine
The ever-increasing cost of re-capping haul roads
Re-capping costs will vary depending on a number of factors.
For example, if wearing course must be brought in from an external source, costs can begin to mount up very rapidly.
The costs of drilling, blasting, crushing, re-handling, placing, shaping, compacting and watering this material also needs to be factored in.
Furthermore, the argument some mines put forward is that they don’t want to spend more money for re-capping material as the expectation is that sooner or later, it will be eroded and need replacement.
This thought process means that the cycle of needing to re-cap roads will never change and mines will continue incurring high operational expenses. However, with the right approach to haul road management, there wouldn’t be any need for continued replacement.
How Dust-A-Side's haul road management program contributes to reducing haul road maintenance costs
Stabilising haul roads with the Dust-A-Side (DAS) Product minimises the erosion of fines and protect the underlying structural layers of the haul road by providing a water impermeable seal.
Additional to the above, other benefits include;
- eliminating conventional mine site grading practices that waste good road material, and
- significantly reducing waterbowzer and grader utilisation that deteriorate haul roads every time they spray water or grade the road.
The end result is that haul roads re-capping requirements are reduced by almost 90%.
Minimising re-capping of haul roads lowers on-going operational expenditure
The cost of incorporating DASProduct may well be offset by the savings achieved on re-capping. Long term savings can also be realised through:
- Reducing the need for on-going road maintenance fleet involved in re-capping and dust suppression
- Reduced fuel costs through improved rolling resistance
- Improved tyre life due to better haul road conditions
Furthermore, mines can realise an improved productivity through:
- Faster recovery time after heavy rainfalls
- Quicker cycle times through improved rolling resistance
- Reduced operational delays due to a dust free environment.
Finally, mines can experience an enhanced safety and sustainability through:
- Reduced dust levels
- Reduced CO2 emissions
- A safer working environment
For more information and advice on haul roads re-capping, haul road management, the Dust-A-Side product range, or anything else mentioned in this article, call +27 12 648 8900 to speak to one of our engineers. Alternatively, simply click here to contact us.