One of the things that sets Midwest apart from many of the manufacturers of off-the-shelf dust control products in the industry is our focus on program over product. We’re invested in the success of our clients, meaning we work relentlessly to help them achieve the best possible results for their underground mine dust control programs. Because the success of a dust control program is so dependent on the context of the environment the program is being implemented in, we conduct tests with potential clients to ensure that we can deliver an entire program that is both successful and cost-effective.
We don’t settle for selling a good product and leaving it up to our customers to get the best use from it. So, when an underground metals mine reached out to us for help reducing their underground mine dust control costs, we were happy to provide an evaluation and trial.
An Effective Underground Mine Dust Control Program, But at What Cost?
When this mine approached us, they had already achieved one of the greatest levels of underground mine dust control we had ever seen in terms of reducing respirable dust and general dust from road surfaces. The conditions of the ramps, roads, and ribs were impressive. It’s a credit to the sheer dedication of the team at the mine.
The problem was, it required a vast amount of various products to achieve these results.
The mine was using a mix of two off-the-shelf, generic dust control products as well as magnesium chloride. One of the generic products was applied weekly to the ribs following blasting. One was applied daily to high traffic areas. The chloride was used on ribs on lower levels as well as storage areas off main traffic areas.
While results were impressive, the cost of using these products was simply too high. The generic product that was applied daily was being used at a rate of 1.5 totes per day, at a cost of $491,904 per year.
The chloride, though a bit cheaper to apply, is also highly corrosive and presents a slip hazard to the underground mine staff. The mine expressed a desire to eliminate the use of chlorides altogether.
The question posed: Could Midwest’s MineKleen Plus underground mine dust control program achieve comparable levels of dust control at a lower cost?
Midwest’s product — MineKleen Plus — was tested against the first generic dust control product. It achieved comparable results with an application rate of 1.5 totes every 2.5 days, compared to 1.5 totes every day of the generic product.
The reason that MineKleen Plus was able to create comparable results with more time in between applications is that it is built around a synthetic binder that locks dust fines together at the molecular level. This unique chemistry creates a web of dust fines and road aggregate, tying the entire system together, like a web or matrix. It can’t be washed off the road surface and gets stronger as the surface is used. This creates a cumulative effect: the more product that is in the road surface, the stronger the road surface gets.
The result is that a single application of MineKleen Plus lasts longer than generic, off-the-shelf products, meaning you need less product to achieve the same or better results.
For this mine in particular, the result was a 60% reduction in the amount of product needed. This product reduction lowered their cost by $184,659, or 37.5%. Their new total cost for the main traffic areas on both the ramps and lower levels was $307,244.
MineKleen Plus also received favorable feedback in comparison to the other generic product used on the ribs. Weekly applications will no longer be needed, adding further savings.
Beyond these initial results, there is an opportunity to work with the team from the mine on alternative application techniques utilizing our MineKleen Sprayer that will reduce application time and maximize the product’s effectiveness, thereby reducing the amount of MineKleen Plus required even further.
The Midwest Advantage: A Program Built to Your Unique Circumstances and Budget
This case study reiterates Midwest’s value proposition: Achieving both successful and cost-effective dust control at your mine site is possible when you have a vendor who acts like a partner who builds a program specific to your mine.
At Midwest, we’ll help you figure out the best places to apply our product, the right frequency of application, and the volume of product to use, all in a way that maximizes results while minimizing costs.
To see the difference we can make in your mine, contact us for a complete analysis.