When it comes to dust management, Erizon understands there is never a one-size-fits-all approach.
Innovation is at the heart of the company’s ability to develop custom-made solutions that are sustainable in the long term.
Erizon’s unique approach pulls together a wealth of talent and experience in the areas of science, engineering, project management and technology.
Its experienced team of agronomists, horticulturalists and soil scientists take the time to fully understand the variables in each project to develop effective solutions based on scientific analysis of the environmental issues at play.
The Australian Mining Review spoke to Erizon Operations Manager Tom Corkhill about the dust control solutions the company provided at one of Australia’s biggest gold mines, and how this has led to the development of innovative equipment that will revolutionise the industry.
Erizon won a major contract to devise a solution for a 700ha tailings storage facility (TSF) at a large gold mine in Orange, NSW.
The client had experienced several failures in dust suppression from alternative products and companies, which offered solutions that had no functional longevity.
Erizon took part in a trial alongside other market leaders in dust management to allow the client to determine the best fit for the site.
At the conclusion of this trial, Erizon’s innovative solution had the long-term desired effect, meeting project requirements and exceeding longevity targets.
Previously at the site, a polymer solution was being dissolved within three months, due to the high salinity level of the TSF.
Rather than continuously apply a polymer solution every three months, Erizon tailored a solution that involved growing specific vegetation to provide greater dust suppression results, while adhering to EPA and community requirements.
The solution took into account the results of scientific trials and testing, which confirmed it would be difficult to grow numerous types of vegetation in the hostile environment created by this particular TSF.
Furthermore, the mulch needed to be hydraulically applied via the use of customised HydroRigs, which would face a high chance of getting bogged or sinking if they were mounted on standard trucks.
‘’There are tailings dams in the world which have trucks and equipment stuck at the bottom of them, so to avoid that we have developed some innovative technology to reduce the pound-per-square-inch (PSI) on our equipment,’’ Tom said.
With Erizon, a HydroRig is mounted on a purpose-built truck with low bearing capacity (LBC) capabilities, which is then towed by a mine-spec, wide-tracked tractor.
The new PSI of just 5.8, thanks to the clever distribution of the weight over a larger surface area, is smaller than the PSI of a human footprint, which is about 11.
Erizon has an engineering department and devotes significant resources to research and development.
The company is developing exciting new equipment with a PSI of less than one, which would be a game changer in the mining industry.
Erizon’s equipment can access areas that other providers simply can’t.
‘’With our LBC HydroRigs, we have direct access to areas that other equipment can’t,’’ Tom said.
‘’It allows us to have more control over application. When accessing TSF’s directly there are numerous safety concerns. Our equipment addresses these concerns.
‘’Aerial options are always an option, but this comes at a greater cost, due to the need for pilots, helicopters, fixed wing planes and increased safety requirements.
‘’It can cost up to $2500 an hour to hire a plane, so if we are on-site applying solutions directly, there is an opportunity for cost savings.
‘’It also allows us to apply a better product because we are not applying it aerially, we are applying from our trucks and we can monitor the quality of the application in real time.
‘’The other problem with aerial is availability; they are not always available, and they are unable to fly in heavy fog or high winds.’’
Other availability issues with using aircrafts arise in emergency situations, such as when many of Australia’s planes and helicopters were diverted to the bushfires that ravaged the entire country.
FibreLoc is a heavy-duty dust suppressant that has been scientifically engineered for extreme conditions, such as substrates with high salinity levels like tailings dams.
Envizo is a real time, on-site performance monitoring system that provides updates and alerts for unexpected weather events.
Monitoring stations and a live feed give Erizon and the client 24/7 access to a full range of performance indicators, including PM levels, Wind speed and direction, temperature, humidity, soil moisture levels and rainfall.
‘’We can pinpoint where the dust is coming from through the tactical placement of sensors; we will know if there are going to be possible dust issues before impacting the local community,’’ Tom said.
‘’Many sites have this sort of equipment and EPA monitors, but what you will find is, a lot of them monitor dust from outside the perimeter of the mine.
‘’The point of difference with Envizo is we are monitoring at the source in real time, which triggers an alert so action can be taken.
“Envizo is enabling us to take full ownership of our dust management solutions for our partners. ‘’
When coupled with scientifically developed solutions and expert application methods, Erizon is able to develop an end-to-end solution which allows Erizon to provide a Supply, Apply Guarantee.
‘’We have created our own product range, solutions, monitoring systems and applications which allows us to take full ownership – and that is something that a lot of our competitors can’t do.’’
Each project comes with a tailored Quality Management Plan and Inspection and Test plan (ITP) to identify and record project specifications and requirements.
With hydraulic cannons mounted on state-of-the-art HydroRigs, Erizon can apply their dust suppression product to areas in a fast and efficient manner.
Erizon’s HydroRigs feature in-built agitators to maintain solution uniformity and homogeneity and are also fitted with hydraulic hoses with an extended hose capacity over 500m.
The power, speed and design of its machines optimise efficiency and effectiveness by providing unparalleled coverage of extensive areas and difficult terrain such as steep slopes.
All of Erizon’s HydroRigs have the ability to apply product to upwards of 50,000m2 per day.
Every HydroRig is mine-spec compliant, equipped with rollover protection systems, edge protection and harness attachment points, interlocks and emergency stops, firefighting equipment, spill containment kits and first aid equipment to protect the safety of its operators.
Erizon also uses advanced drone technology for spraying, seeding and the application of fertiliser in hard-to-reach places or where the terrain is uneven.
With more innovation in this space in the works, progressing the use of drones for this industry is something Erizon is investing into heavily.
Pushing the Envelope
Erizon is not only an expert in dust suppression.
With more than 25 years of experience, Erizon is also an industry leader in large-scale mining and civil environmental solutions including revegetation, rehabilitation, and erosion control.
The mining industry is known for sticking to old-school, traditional methods because that is the way it has always been done.
Erizon is all about innovation and pushing the boundaries to come up with better ways of tackling problems.
The company researches and develops cutting edge solutions that are tailored to Australia’s climate and individual project requirements.
‘’We work closely with our partners to develop custom-made solutions for their sites, and we are moving away from the one-solution-fits-all approach by developing exciting equipment that should revolutionise the industry,” Tom said.
‘’We also place a big emphasis on working with local suppliers wherever possible, such as sourcing seed locally.’’
With an Australia-wide footprint and more than 50 staff and contractors, Erizon has the ability to take on the big projects.
The company has worked with the likes of Newcrest, Rio Tinto, Ventia, AGL and GHD, providing tailored solutions for all.
P 1300 182 182