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Leading dust suppression specialist Global Road Technology (GRT) is unveiling a new range of dust control products as it further establishes itself as an industry leader in reducing the dust pollution caused by Australian mining activity.

Drill and blast activities have long been in the “too hard basket”, however staff working in these operations are some of the most exposed onsite.

In anticipation of the requirements of its mining clients GRT has developed a two-pronged attack on the hazardous, respirable dust generated from drill and blast, with the service offering named the GRT: Drill and Blast Dust Control process.

Phase one includes GRT 12X, a product that targets the dust generated by drilling for blasting and exploration. It super-activates drill water so it saturates and captures the fine, hazardous dust drilling can generate, preventing it from becoming an airborne hazard.

The second product that forms part of this offering is the GRT: DC Binder, a polymeric additive that prevents hazardous airborne dust from being generated from the piles of fine Drill Cuttings (DC) by creating a tough surface crust that binds the hazardous dust particles in place.

For GRT general manager Daniel Grundy, the development of these products is a response to the current use of water by the mining industry as a major plank of their dust control reduction schemes – an approach that is largely ineffective in stopping the spread of dust particles.

“Trying to suppress silica and coal dust using water alone as a tool is quite frankly ineffective and can even be a wasteful use of this valuable resource,” Grundy said.

“This is a rather blunt assessment, but the fact is that traditional water-based methods employed by mines and quarries to mitigate the generation of coal, silica, and other hazardous dust are ineffective due to water’s chemistry and wasteful due to the amount of continual watering required to try and manage mining dust.

“GRT 12X and its sister product GRT: DC Binder have been developed and trialled over a half decade period as a scientific response to this issue and present an effective, sustainable, safe, non-toxic, biodegradable alternative that stops dust from drill and blast activities at the source protecting workers and even neighbouring communities.”

This technology is designed by GRT to resolve the issues caused by traditional methods of dust suppression in that traditional methods using solely water to capture particulates are quite ineffective due to the respective properties of the two particles – resulting in them repelling each other like two positive ends of a magnet.

GRT is releasing products at a time when the legislative environment across the country is combining with community pressure, placing airborne dust pollution and dust-related lung disease firmly on the agenda of major mining companies as pressure grows for them to showcase how they are proactively reducing its onsite spread.

This follows a three-year period in which each of Australia’s state governments have implemented tighter legislation around dust pollution.

This legislative tightening is occurring at the same time the Federal Government has established a National Dust Disease Taskforce (the Taskforce) to develop a national approach for the prevention, early identification, control, and management of occupational dust diseases in Australia – partially due to growing community concerns around airborne lung-diseases.

In the face of the changing political and business landscape, GRT developed GRT: DC Binder and the GRT 12X Dust Suppression as an industry-first approach in that the products allow miners to take a whole-of-site approach when aiming to reduce the spread of particulate dust by stopping its spread at the source.

This prevents the super fine dust from becoming airborne when disturbed by the wind, vehicles, or even members of the blast crew as they work in the drill pattern area.

Grundy said the significant amount of time, effort and dollars invested in these products is worthwhile, as it epitomises GRT’s philosophy of dynamic dust management – an approach that separates it from other operators.

“This product set is representative of our entire philosophy at GRT where we focus our efforts into dynamic dust management – that is proactively resolving the problem of air pollution at its source via our engineering processes and product suite to stop the issue in its tracks,” Grundy said.

“The ultimate aim for us is to end dust as a mine site hazard – with these products designed to provide comprehensive, whole of mine site solutions to ensure that workers, communities, nearby farmers, and the environment aren’t negatively impacted by mining activity.

“To achieve this goal we have become one of the few companies in our field that focus on solutions that account for the entirety of the mine-to-port process – meaning that at every step of the journey a GRT product is designed to provide protection for workers and communities alike from dust pollution.”