Contract for dust-control product extended

ANTON VAN DER MERWE I-Cat has made inroads in developing products for the underground mining sector

DUST CONTROL GreenBit can significantly reduce the health and environmental hazards caused by dust emissions on a mine's haulage roads

Photo by Bloomberg

15th May 2015

By: Pimani Baloyi

Creamer Media Writer


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Environmental management company I-Cat Environmental Solutions’ contract to supply GreenBit dust palliative – its locally produced dust-control solution – to a mining company, has been renewed for another five years.

I-Cat director Anton van der Merwe tells Mining Weekly that the GreenBit dust palliative is applied by working the solution into the top layer or spraying it on top of unsealed mine haulage roads, using water bowsers. This process results in a durable, smooth and dust-free surface that complies with safety, environmental and occupational legislative guidelines.

“We have extensively tested and tweaked our GreenBit product in an operational mining environment to establish the most effective product formulation to optimise dust suppression. We started supplying GreenBit to a large mining group in the Northern Cape in January last year, with great results. The miner recently extended our contract by five years, which we attribute to the success and cost effectiveness of the product.”

Van der Merwe adds that extensive product trials were conducted at the miner’s opencast mine before the contract was awarded to I-Cat. Through these trials, the mining company established that the product significantly reduced the health and environmental hazards caused by dust emissions on a mine’s haulage roads.

“The mine conducted ambient particle monitoring tests and the results reflected that the overall ambient dust emissions at the mine’s operation decreased substantially since using GreenBit as the primary dust suppressant on the mine,” he explains.

He notes that I-Cat also introduced the GreenBit to other clients, who are now conducting on-site tests to ascertain the success of the product. The company also secured a contract for the supply of GreenBit to a Democratic Republic of Congo-based mine, with a six-month paid trial currently under way at the mine.

“I-Cat is committed to providing solutions for the mining industry’s environmental challenges that endanger the health of mineworkers as well as the surrounding natural environment,” states Van der Merwe, adding that airborne dust is also a major concern underground, owing to traffic and ventilation challenges, and that it is, therefore, imperative to control dust effectively.

“The underground sector has always been a challenge when it comes to dust suppression techniques; too much water creates a muddy, slippery and dangerous environment, so we cannot supply solutions that make the underground environment dangerous.

“However, too little water does not suppress dust effectively. Therefore, our underground-specific products bind with dust particles to create a dust-free environment, even on dry surfaces,” he elaborates.

Additional Technology
Van der Merwe further tells Mining Weekly that I-Cat launched its RDC 20 dust suppressing solution in 2013. The RDC 20 is a water-soluble anionic polyelectrolyte polymer, comprising an exclusive formulation of blended emulsified co-polymers and ionic modifiers.

Van der Merwe elaborates that I-Cat’s RDC 20 is produced from natural substances and does not feature any petrochemical or hydrocarbon ingredients, making it 100% ecofriendly and safe to use. The product is sprayed onto gravel roads, where it forms a durable, cross-linked matrix that binds fine-soil particles onto larger heavier particles, which are less prone to become airborne.

The RDC 20 is mostly used on temporary roads, as it is a cost-efficient way of improving road and dust conditions exponentially, says Van der Merwe, adding that it can, however, also be used for underground mining and deep-level mining.

“I-Cat has received overwhelming positive feedback on the RDC 20 from mines where the product is applied, especially where I-Cat is contracted to manage dust control on mine roads,” he explains.

Further, the roadholding ability of vehicles has improved and, owing to the RDC 20’s biodegradable attributes, pollution of under-ground water resources is kept at a minimum, Van der Merwe concludes.

Edited by Leandi Kolver
Creamer Media Deputy Editor


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