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Remote Mining Operations Need Fines Preservation® For Gravel Runways

By John Burnett on 09/28/2017

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A Fines Preservation program reduces repair costs and ensures safe flying conditions for cargo planes that rely on remote gravel runways.

To transport heavy loads to faraway customers, mines in rugged, remote areas rely on particularly complex logistics networks. Critical to these networks are massive cargo planes — as well as the gravel runways that enable them to safely pick up and drop off minerals and other valuable commodities wherever they go.

In order to guarantee safe landing and takeoff for cargo planes, a strong, reliable, and affordable plan for gravel runway maintenance is essential. When gravel runways fall into disrepair, shipments are delayed, or even worse, planes can sustain costly damage to their wings, landing gear, and engines. With a well-maintained gravel runway, however, you can avoid frequent repairs and minimize revenue-sapping downtime.

Proper upkeep of gravel runways begins with what’s called a Fines Preservation program, which should be designed to protect both the runway surface and the planes making use of it.

Why Fines Preservation Is So Important

A gravel runway offers many advantages over a paved one, especially for mines that operate far away from populated cities or regions. For one, building an asphalt strip in a remote location can be particularly costly, given the required materials that must be shipped from far away. A gravel runway represents a viable alternative, but not if it isn’t supported by a great maintenance program and advanced runway surface binding products.

Through a rigorous Fines Preservation program, hazardous dust and aggregate material will be locked into the runway surface, improving runway consistency and preventing washboarding, rutting and potholes that can increase rolling resistance and make takeoffs and landings dangerous. This fine material in the runway surface is an integral part of a runway’s structure — when it blows away as dust, the runway structure breaks down more and more with each take off and landing. Excess airborne dust can also seep into the plane’s engines and mechanics, causing costly damage that can ground planes for extended periods of time.

Given the potential expenses associated with aircraft repair, runway reconstruction, and plane downtime, an effective fines preservation program is far more affordable than doing nothing at all. A typical gravel runway requires a complete rebuild every ten years, a process with costs that can easily figure in the millions of dollars. With a strict maintenance program, however, high-priced rebuilds are needed far less frequently.

Midwest Has the Solution

Fortunately for mine operators utilizing landing strips in remote areas, Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. has developed a Gravel Runway Fines Preservation Program that ensures the long-term integrity of your runway. Our patented, environmentally safe products EnviroKleen® and EK35® have been proven to double the lifespan of gravel runways and lock down 80-90% of runway fines.

Over a 20-year lifecycle, the use of Midwest products saves between 5,000 and 15,000 tons of the gravel that would otherwise be required to replace or overlay a 3,000-foot-by-100-foot dirt airstrip. EnviroKleen and EK35 not only save mine operators time and money, but ensure easier landing and takeoff conditions for pilots, too.

When it comes to gravel runways, don’t let an inadequate maintenance program put your business operations, shipment deadlines, or bottom line at risk. An effective fines preservation program designed by Midwest’s staff of experts can make all the difference.

About Author

John Burnett

Written by John Burnett

John Burnett is the Business Manager for the Midwest's Gravel Runway and Village Roads Group. He is experienced in business development and sales operations and management.

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