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The Dust Dilemma: Rethinking Water Reliance


As summer’s hot and dry days unfold, meteorology agencies like the Bureau of Meteorology predict the emergence of El-Nino weather patterns, with longer term rainfall deficiencies leading to drought or drought-like conditions in many regions. These conditions raise concerns for quarries that rely on water to suppress dust to meet environmental and occupational health obligations. This article explores strategies to improve your quarry's drought resilience by shifting away from an overreliance on water-based dust control methods.


The Dust Dilemma: Rethinking Water Reliance

Dust generated on quarry roads and during material processing is an ongoing challenge, and in the past, water has been the primary solution for dust control. However, quarries should rethink their approach to dust management with increasing uncertainty surrounding water availability due to potential drought conditions.


Practical Steps for Drought Resilience

Drought-resilient practices in your quarry planning and operations can make all the difference. By shifting our focus away from an over-reliance on water, you can reap the benefits, including:

  • Continuous Operations: Avoid the need to cease operations during water scarcity, ensuring business continuity.

  • Cost Reduction: Reduce the likelihood of importing water to your site, resulting in cost savings.


Drought-resilient measures to consider:

  • Quarry Planning: Minimise and optimise the size of operational areas through practical layout and planning. Embrace rolling remediation of mine pits and increase dam storage capacity while forecasting operational costs for dry periods.

  • Quarry Operations: Invest in enclosing and containing processing operations including transfer points to minimise dust dispersal, substitute bulk wetting of feed material with foam additives to suppress airborne dusts, test the effectiveness of cabins to isolate workers against external dusts, trial water additives on haul routes to reduce the frequency of water truck rotations, implement personal protective equipment (PPE) management plans to improve the reliability of respiratory equipment and other PPE for conditions with high dust exposure potential. Ongoing fit testing of respiratory equipment and monitoring of environmental dust deposition are essential for environmental and safety compliance.


Every quarry site is unique, and what works best for dust control may vary between sites.


Our team is here to support you, providing expertise and innovative solutions to safeguard your quarry against the uncertainties of dry times. Whether it's minimising and optimising operational areas, increasing dam storage capacity, or forecasting operational costs for dry conditions, we are here to assist you at every step. Call us on 1800 GWPLUS (1800 497 587) today.


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