One of the world’s largest mines, based in the Northern Territory, has introduced revolutionary water spray application technology to improve dust control and enhance mining operation safety; and the benefits are expected to be both swift and significant.
McArthur River Mine, which excavates zinc, lead and silver has contracted EPSA to supply and maintain mobile equipment on site, and required two new water trucks to be added to its operations but, being mindful of improving dust control and ensuring better safety for its workers, decided to have trucks specifically designed that would address these issues.
The result was the coming together of local Australian companies, Australian Diversified Engineering and Austin Engineering, that produced two uniquely designed CAT 789 water trucks for the mine patented as “Stairway Access Tank”, with a capacity of 159,000 litres.
The exclusive design has produced what is now known as the safest water tank in the mining industry, and is an engineering collaboration of which ADE General Manager Clive Gray says has set the bar for water truck technology to new heights.
“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.”
ADE is world renowned for its development of the ADE Spray System; a water truck spray control system that can consistently spray a controlled rate of water onto the ground, regardless of speed, to effectively control airborne dust. 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.
Mr Gray says it is this 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. 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,” Mr Gray said.
The custom designed 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 their latest safety technology. All ADE products are both designed and manufactured in Australia.
The trucks were then delivered to the mine site where ADE engineers arrived to ensure all components were running like clockwork before the trucks started their first day of action.
“A haul road can be closed for several hours in the event of an unplanned movement with a mobile operations vehicle,” explained Mr Gray, “costing both time and money as production is indefinitely halted. Our systems are designed to help sites save time, money and improve safety so we will always go above and beyond to ensure a positive experience for all concerned.”
To find out more about the ADE Spray System and Australian Diversified Engineering please visit www.ade.net.au.