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Excerpts from the article ‘Tires and Roads, An Uphill Haul’

Excerpts from the article ‘Tires and Roads, An Uphill Haul’, as posted in International Mining – May 2015.

Paul Moore looks at the oversupply situation in the global mining tire market…

It is certainly all changed from the days of mining tire shortages and crises. In the current market, the big names like Michelin, Bridgestone and Goodyear had upped capacity to address previous shortages, but these increases took a while to come online. At the same time, the current mining downturn has meant lower demand for large tires, especially in coal where due to low coal prices a number of coalmines have closed or have been idled. This has all led to a situation where there is definitely more supply than demand as the market is saturated with both bias ply and brand name radial OTR (Off the Road) tires. The hope is that once end user and dealer inventories begin to deplete, and commodity prices pick up, there will be an increase in demand for the large radial mining tires.

ROAD//STABILIZR® application at Shenhua Beidian Shengli Energy mine

Haul road management

It’s estimated that half of all roads in the US, and an even higher percentage of roads throughout the world, are unpaved. Many serve as heavy-duty access and haul roads for mines. Weak subgrades pose the greatest challenge to these roads. A weak subgrade subjected to continuous heavy traffic can quickly deform, causing the road surface to rut, pothole, “washboard” and ultimately deteriorate beyond use. With increasing aggregate prices, tighter construction budgets and heavier wheel loads, lower cost alternatives to traditional methods of unpaved road construction have become more important.

Cypher Environmental says its ROAD//STABILIZR® soil stabilization product is continuing to see success at a Shenhua coal operation in China. ROAD//STABILIZR® acts on the clay component already in the soil. Comprising of a combination of enzymes, electrolytes and surfactants, it works by releasing water from the soil, enabling it to be compacted to a denser form, and it then manipulates the clay to bind it together permanently, increasing its strength and density. The Shenhua Beidian Shengli Energy mine in China, near Xilinhaote in Inner Mongolia, began an ROAD//STABILIZR® road application and soil stabilization project in late 2013. The mine decided to try ROAD//STABILIZR® due to the benefits of using their clay overburden for haul road construction, which would result in huge cost savings in terms of material costs.

Above and beyond this, Shenhua was attracted by the potential added benefits from the ROAD//STABILIZR® application, such as reduced maintenance requirements, reduced dust, and better performance in wet weather, than their standard non-ROAD//STABILIZR® treated haul roads. As a result of the effects that were observed on their haul roads from the ROAD//STABILIZR® treatment, the mine decided to implement a large-scale ROAD//STABILIZR® application to a significant volume of their haul road network in 2014.

Cypher states: “The mine had previously been experiencing issues during the rainy season, which typically lasts between May and October. Often, mine operations would be suspended because rainfall would cause road conditions to be very unstable and dangerous. In order to avoid unplanned work stoppages and remain profitable, they needed a solution that would keep the mine operational throughout the year, regardless of weather.” Over the course of the summer months in 2014, roads were constructed totaling 19.8 km with a width of 24 m using ROAD//STABILIZR®.

“The ROAD//STABILIZR® soil stabilization road application offers a bio-degradable, cost-efficient solution for industries that require improved soil stability and durability in a timely manner that doesn’t affect productivity. Shenhua operates 24 hours a day, and due to the non-invasive nature of ROAD//STABILIZR® applications, the mine was able to stabilize haul roads during the day, and open the haul roads at night, having an extremely minimal impact on the overall operation and productivity of the mine. Shenhua Beidian Shengli Energy Co. Ltd. continues to see benefits of their ROAD//STABILIZR® stabilization applications.”

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