Use Road Treatment Solutions for Sustainable Gold Mining

In Dust Control, Haul Pro®, Mine & Quarry by Jim Silva

Silver Standard acquired the Marigold Mine in Nevada last year. In order to accurately assess their environmental impact and create sustainable mining solutions, they should pay attention not only to the mine itself, but also to its peripheral industries.

Silver Standard Resources, Inc. released its life of mine plan (along with the mineral reserves estimate and the mineral resources estimate) for the Marigold Mine last year, which is located in Humboldt County, Nevada. While the plan envisions an impressive future for the mine itself, there are some logistical issues that need to be addressed by the new sole owner of the Marigold Mine.

In particular, frequent use of the road needed to transport gold and equipment in and out of the facility represents an activity essential to the extraction process. Let’s take a look at some possible options for keeping the access roads in their best possible condition and discover why stellar maintenance is the key to a successful mining operation.

Marigold Mine, a History

In operation since 1988, Marigold mine is one of the largest gold mines in the country. Up until April of this year, it was co-owned by Goldcorp, Inc. and Barrick Gold (two other industry giants). However, in April, Silver Standard Resources, a mining company based in Vancouver, Canada with several other North American facilities to its name, acquired the mine.

According to PR Newswire, in 2013, there were an estimated 2.1 million ounces of gold in the mine, with an average of 186,700 ounces of gold mined per year. Conservative estimates put the mine’s operating life at 13 years. In 2013, about 150,000 tons of material was moved each day. The movement was done by standard truck and shovel mining, and, as can be expected, caused a significant amount of wear and tear on the equipment and transportation routes.

Marigold is estimated to be worth $419 million and employs almost 400 permanent employees, with adjustments made depending on the season. The facility also covers a sizeable piece of land (7,900 hectares, or about thirty square miles). All this is to say that it plays a substantial role in the lives of Nevada residents.

I-80, Access Roads, and the Environment

Cutting straight through the mine’s property, Interstate 80 is the main artery connecting Marigold Mine to the outside world. However, the mine itself is connected to the interstate by only one six-kilometer access road that is unpaved and not maintained by the state and federal departments of transportation. Should the road suddenly become unusable, transportation of materials in and out of the mine would come to a halt.

Since Silver Standard acquired the mine relatively recently, the company may still be in the process of upgrading its operations. In addition to ensuring the well-being of its employees, Silver Standard will should also assess the environmental impact of their mine. Midwest Industrial Supply, Inc. can help them properly maintain their access roads in order to keep their operations and shipments of material running smoothly and on time.

Mining and Road Treatment

The Marigold Mine is a crown jewel in America’s natural resources and represents a critical asset to the extraction industry. In order to maintain the mine’s current output over the coming decades, Silver Standard should try to make their facility as environmentally sound as possible.

The access road that leads in and out of the mine, while not as captivating a subject as the blocks of gold that are transported on it, is a critical part of the extraction process. Silver Standard would do well to ensure that the haul road is operational as long as there is gold in the ground.

What Can Silver Standard Do?

There are many options available for road treatment and upkeep. Midwest’s Haul Pro® is a long-term solution for efficient control of road dust on unpaved haul roads, reduces the need for watering and grading and minimizes the the harmful effects of dust all while creating stronger and more durable road surfaces.

Midwest has been helping mining companies find solutions for their vital haul roads for four decades. Midwest’s products are designed to be as effective as possible at keeping dust on the road and out of the air, and to be completely harmless to the surrounding environment.

(Main image credit: Kevin Dooley/flickr)

Jim is Midwest’s Business Unit Manager for Global Mining. He is experienced in operations management, asset management, and business improvement.