BHP Billiton has teamed up with
Queensland research and development
firm, Cooee Products in a bid to save
millions of litres of water daily.
The Queensland mining industry
consumes 109 gigalitres of water each
year, or the equivalent of about 48,000
swimming pools. The widespread uptake
of this new technology could have a
significant impact on state-wide water usage
Surface mines generally apply up to
10 loads of water per day to haul roads
to keep dust under control, with each
load using around 60 kilolitres.
With a diminishing onsite water
reserve, BMA’s Goonyella Riverside
mine was searching for ways to improve
mine roads and to reduce water usage.
After three comprehensive trials of
Cooee’s DustBloc, BHP Billiton found
the product reduced water usage by
90 per cent, saving an impressive 3.6
million litres per day.
During the trials, DustBloc was used
to treat haul roads carrying 150t trucks,
which were transporting loads of up to
On the back of such positive results,
BHP Billiton has recommended DustBloc
be widely used across its mines, with
Cooee already deployed to eight more
DustBloc is a bitumen blend that,
when mixed with water, forms a dust
suppressant for a range of surfaces.
The DustBloc blend contains Cooee’s
unique FT50 additive, which enables
the bitumen to easily mix with all water
types (soft, hard, bore or salt).
When the water and additive
evaporate, a thin coating of bitumen is
left over on the surface and gradually
builds up over time.
The effect is two-fold. Firstly it binds
the road together (stopping dust); and
secondly, when the road is broken up by
traffic, the surface is heavier and less
likely to become airborne.