Long Term Dust Control for Haul Roads

If you’re aiming to boost the productivity and efficiency of your mine, it’s crucial to regularly reassess your long-term dust control for haul roads. With rapid technological advancements, staying updated on the latest innovations and techniques ensures effective results while prioritizing environmental protection and conservation.

In this article, we will take a closer look at each of the following traditional methods of dust suppression and why they may not be the best solutions for your site. Read on to learn more DUST/BLOKR® Cypher Environmental’s proprietary dust control solution that is 100% environmentally friendly, non-toxic and non-corrosive.

It’s Time to Reassess Your Long-Term Dust Control Strategy.


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long term dust control for haul road

Cypher’s DUST/BLOKR being applied for long-term dust control on haul road.



Why you shouldn’t use water

Using water as your long term dust control for haul roads is an old-fashioned but still common method. However, it is not sustainable, especially in water-scarce regions. Frequent application is required, which will quickly exhaust your water supply allowance. Even if water is abundant where you are, there are still hidden costs to consider, including:

  • Fuel costs: constant re-application means constant deployment of your water trucks and increased fuel consumption.
  • Wear-and-tear costs: frequent re-applications mean higher wear-and-tear costs on your vehicles and tires.
  • Environmental impact: if you are in a warmer climate, water will evaporate quickly, leading to frequent applications.
  • Erosion: using too much water is detrimental to the use of your road. It creates erosion and can weaken the surface of your road. 

More frequent applications means more water trucks on the road; not only are there financial costs there are also environmental costs to consider. More water trucks on the road mean more fuel consumption and higher greenhouse gas emissions.

So while the water may be cheap, the need to frequently re-apply it means the savings are quickly offset by fuel costs, on top of the substantial carbon footprint.

To help you understand the true cost, we have created a spreadsheet that calculates fuel costs, road dimensions, water usage, and application frequency.  The spreadsheet can help you measure your fuel cost, the length and width of your road, how much water you are using, and how frequently you are watering your roads. It compares these costs with those of using our product and shows potential CO2 reductions. You can significantly reduce your greenhouse gas output with more parked vehicles! If you’re interested in finding out what the cost of using our product is when compared to using water, contact us here


Why you shouldn’t use salt

Magnesium Chloride (MgCl) and Calcium Chloride (CaCl) are popular options worldwide for dust control due to their low initial cost. However, more and more jurisdictions and mine sites are banning or limiting their use, due to the highly detrimental corrosive properties that road salts possess, making their widespread use a danger to local water bodies and nearby roadside vegetation. Here are some major drawbacks of using chlorides:

  • Corrosive Nature: can cause rust and other detrimental effects on haul trucks and other expensive equipment that come into contact with the treated haul roads. 
  • Environmental Impact: can harm local water bodies and vegetation, leading to damage to whole ecosystems.
  • Safety Concerns: salt-treated roads can become slippery when wet

To further clarify on this last point, road salts are hygroscopic, meaning they attract moisture. Moisture is what keeps the road damp and reduces the dust. Road salts work by attracting and holding water molecules via either absorption or adsorption from the surrounding environment to keep the roads damp and dust-free. However, during and after rain events, roads treated with chloride-based products can attract and retain so much moisture that they become saturated and slippery. This is why mines using road salts on their haul roads cannot use it on ramps, as it creates too many safety concerns when the roads get wet. 


Why you shouldn’t use oil

Hydrocarbon-based products also come with their own negative environmental impacts. Not only do oil and water not mix, creating harmful hydrocarbon contaminated run-off when it rains, but this fact also contributes to potential slippery conditions in wet weather.  

Beyond the environmental concerns, there are also human health risks, as some petroleum-based products may be carcinogenic, containing semi-volatile PAHs and VOCs (ADEC, 2008). DUST/BLOKR® offers a completely organic solution, and based on its all-natural ingredients, poses no risk to the environment or human/animal health risks whatsoever.

However, in terms of performance-based parameters, the major issue with hydrocarbon-based dust suppressants is the inability to penetrate the road base. Since it only sits up on top of the road surface, it creates a layer that encapsulates the dust. Since no penetration takes place, generally any repairs that happen result in the entire crust being removed to get access to the road below, meaning one needs to start from scratch again to rebuild the hydrocarbon base. 


Why you shouldn’t use wetting agents/surfactants

Wetting agents help to reduce the surface tension of water. This means that when a wetting agent or surfactant is mixed in with water, the wetting agent allows the water to penetrate deeper into the solids. In the case of wetting agents being used for dust control purposes, the wetting agent / surfactant allows water to penetrate deeper into the road; thereby staying moist for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, even with the use of wetting agents in the water truck, roads still need to be watered several times per day, meaning there is still a great amount of fuel burned and greenhouse gases being emitted daily.

The other main issue with wetting agents is the very same one in which the product derives its efficacy — drawing water deeper into the road. If any of these surfactants used to control dust are still intact in the road when it rains, it will actually draw more water into the road, weakening the road surface and reducing the overall engineering properties of the base. This leads to potential increases in maintenance and loss of productivity in wet weather. 

None of these can be sustainable for long term dust control on haul roads. 


Why you should use DUST/BLOKR®

DUST/BLOKR® dust control solutions are designed to withstand heavy traffic on mine haul roads and is a cost-effective for municipalities with limited budgets. Key benefits include:

  • Non-corrosive and environmentally friendly: prevents rusts on vehicles and poses no harm to animals, vegetation and ecosystems
  • Enhanced road properties: provides better traction in wet weather with no runoff in the rain. Creates a better driving surface that is more stable and can support more weight
  • Long-term results: one application can last for months with minimal to no maintenance required
  • Fuel savings: significant reduction in fuel costs compare to other traditional dust suppressant methods


How does DUST/BLOKR® compare to other traditional dust suppression methods?

long term dust control for haul roads


DUST/BLOKR® is Cypher Environmental’s innovative and ground-breaking long term dust control for haul roads. The solution presents an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional dust suppression methods like water, chlorides, oils, and wetting agents / surfactants. We have engineered a dust control solution that not only offers superior performance, but is non-corrosive, non-toxic and eco friendly.

In short, DUST/BLOKR is a liquid concentrate comprised of 3 constituents: sugars, starches and a mineral component. Water is added to the highly concentrated product which allows for the suspension of the active components. After the product is applied to the road, the water evaporates when it is exposed to air and the molecules bind together to form a cohesive matrix. It is this newly formed matrix that attracts and binds together any loose particulate it comes into contact with. Furthermore, over time, with further evaporation, the solution continues to harden to form a crust.

This unique formula reduces airborne dust by 90% and has performed well in over 50 countries worldwide for various applications. DUST/BLOKR can be applied topically, mixed-in or employing a combination of both to ensure long-term results. Because there is no run-off during rain events, the treated roads continue to perform despite becoming wet. Whereas a chloride product might attract additional moisture, DUST/BLOKR sheds water, keeping the roads stable and traction intact. In fact, in skid resistance (traction testing), DUST/BLOKR’s performance was far superior to roads with no treatment as well as road treated with roads salts (chlorides). Another benefit of producing no run-off is that DUST/BLOKR is as effective on flat stretches of road as it is on ramps and slopes. 

Though the product is used for dust control, DUST/BLOKR actually also enhances the engineering properties of the roads, resulting in improved California Bearing Ratio (CBR). This improved CBR is a testament of the increase in road strength and the road’s ability to withstand heavy loads.

We are proud of the fact that DUST/BLOKR is 100% environmentally friendly. We make no false claims – the product is made up of only sugars and starches, making it non-toxic, non-corrosive, organic and fully biodegradable. We see this as a significant differentiator given the corrosive  and damaging nature of some traditional dust suppression methods. In fact, DUST/BLOKR is EPA Safer Choice certified as well as being certified to Boeing standards for its non-corrosive nature when used around aircrafts. We are also proud of the fact that by choosing DUST/BLOKR, our customers can significant reduce their carbon footprint by keeping more water trucks and maintenance vehicles parked and allowing for more efficient hauls.  Not only do operators benefit from all the above – it is because of the above that they will also enjoy significant savings and reductions to their OPEX.


Contact us here to get DUST/BLOKR® on your site.

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