Drawing on three decades of experience and research, Nalco Water take a holistic view of issues causing dust. (Photo: Nalco Water)

By Jesse Morton, Technical Writer

The top suppliers in the space say the premier chemicals and hardware for dust suppression help a customer comply with regulations, save water, and reduce downtime. As pressure mounts for miners to meet sustainability metrics, these suppliers hope to support customers on those and other critical goals.

Proven Chemicals Reduce Downtime

Nalco Water said its dust control solutions can help a miner reduce downtime, improve safety, and reduce water usage.

“Over the last 20 to 30 years, we’ve developed a pretty wide range of products that are specific towards a particular type of application or dust issue,” said Steve Paulson, global marketing director, mining division, Nalco Water. “We take a holistic view of the issues that are causing the dust, and then what is needed to solve them.”

The applications include, but are not limited to suppression of dust from haul roads, crushers, conveyor transfer points, railcar transport, stockpiles, and tailings.

For the suppression of dust from stockpiles and rail car haulage, Nalco Water offers DustBind, DustBind Plus, and DustLock. The chemical additives form a seal atop coal to prevent windblown losses. On stockpiles, Dustbind can also reduce oxidation of coal.

The sealant is typically applied with a spraying sytem. “Previous products would form a hard crust, which over time would crack and shed, thereby losing the binding and sealing characteristics,” Paulson said. “We’ve developed a more flexible binder so that it withstands the vibration effects of a rail car in motion or wind action or settling in a stockpile.”

The sealant is sprayed on. “Having a good application system is important so you get the good uniform coverage,” he said.

For haul road dust mitigation, Nalco Water offers HAULAGE-DC and HAUL-EZ.

Haul road dust “can create a safety hazard if visibility in the pit or on the haulage road is reduced because of high dust,” Paulson said. Water alone can be effective but “high evaporation rates can increase water consumption for the mine.” And water availability can be limited.

HAULAGE-DC is “a chemical dust inhibitor that can be used to reduce the amount of water required,” he said. “One of our former colleagues said ‘it makes water work harder.’” The chemical reduces “the total amount of water used and provides a more sustained dust control program, thereby allowing the operator to extend the time between applications.”

That can result in a reduction of the overall number of water trucks needed for dust control. Those trucks “can be a significant expense,” Paulson said. “If you can extend the effectiveness of that dust-control program, then you may be able to reduce the number of trucks, reduce the frequency, reduce the amount of water, and reduce the amount of runoff.”

A mine in Canada “applied the HAULAGE-DC program and was able to reduce by 40% the hours of the water trucks in operation,” he said. “It reduced the fuel cost, of course, and driver time.”

For use in crushing dust-suppression applications, Nalco Water offers DustFoam and DustFoam Plus, chemical-foam dust inhibitors that reduce the amount of water used in dust suppression.

“We developed a couple different foaming products that combine water, a chemical additive, and air to produce a foam,” Paulson said. “The key part this approach is determining where you want to apply the foam and how you apply it because you want to surround that source of dust to capture and retain those dust particles so they are not released to the environment.”

Serving major mining companies in the U.S. and abroad, Nalco Water offers chemical and foam solutions to help suppress dust from haul roads, crushers, conveyor transfer points, railcar transport, stockpiles, and tailings. (Photo: Nalco Water)

In a case study by Nalco Water, a coal company adopted DustFoam to reduce the amount of water used in crushing dust suppression. “During the winter, the moisture levels would rise, resulting in heavy Btu penalties and a reduction of actual shippable Btu’s per ton,” the study said.

Using the foam, “the dust and moisture level of the strip coal was reduced using only 20% of the water previously applied,” the study said. “Total water consumption was decreased from roughly 100 gallons per minute (gpm) using water sprays to a mere 20 gpm using the DustFoam foaming agent.”

Nalco Water dust control programs entail strong on-site technical support to respond to changes as they occur. “We want to make sure that we are optimizing the application,” Paulson said.

“Oftentimes, we start out with an application rate or a dosage that we may have to modify for different times of the year or if something changes in the operation,” he said. “We want to monitor the performance of the program and then make adjustments as needed when the operating conditions change.”

Adoption usually necessitates one or more site visits by a Nalco Water engineer, “to meet with the customer to understand the current situation and what their desired results are and do a detailed survey of the site for their particular operation,” Paulson said. “Based on that, we look at what the available options are, what might be needed in terms of an application system, and then put together a program proposal.”

The proposal will cover the product, dosage, application system, and initial implementation specifications. “If the customer were to accept that proposal, we would then help with implementing that,” he said.

“We don’t just sell a product and turn it over,” Paulson said. “There is a very integrated service component so that we can make sure that we’re getting the product optimized once it is installed.”

This frees the customer to focus on other things. “Dust can serve as a distraction from a mining operation’s core focus,” Paulson said. “And we strive to help our customers solve the material handling challenges that they face so they can do what they do best – mine.”

Blended biosynthetic base oils, stabilized to resist oxidation, are odorless and are chlorine- and sulfur-free.” (Image: Renewable Lubricants)

Bio-Oils Improve Sustainability

Renewable Lubricants introduced Bio-Process Oils, blended biosynthetic base oils for, among other things, controlling dust on non-paved roadways. The oils can help a company achieve some critical safety and sustainability goals, the supplier said.

The “highly refined, bleached, deodorized oils are high in oleic acid content for higher stability over conventional vegetable oils,” Renewable Lubricants said. “Stabilized to resist oxidation and provide light color stability, they are odorless and are chlorine- and sulfur-free.”

In viscosity grades of 50, 70, 100, 150, and 200, they are available in “1-gallon (3.8-liter [l]) containers, 5-gallon (19-l) pails, 55-gallon (208.2-l) drums, 275- and 330-gallon (1,041- and 1,249.2-l) totes, and bulk, from the Hartville, Ohio, U.S., factory,” the company said.

The oils are biodegradable, which can help a company meet sustainability goals and regulations. “These products are biodegradable, non-toxic, and made from renewable resources, offering a significant advantage by minimizing environmental impact while still effectively controlling dust,” Renewable Lubricants said. “This makes them particularly appealing to customers looking to enhance their sustainability practices and comply with increasingly stringent environmental regulations.”

Bio-Process Oils also offer superior performance. “Incorporating the super-high viscosity index of the high-oleic base stocks into the formula increases the viscosity index past systemic levels, providing improved thermal shear stability and increased load capacity,” Renewable Lubricants said. “They provide excellent compatibility with elastomers, mineral and synthetic oils, and provide excellent lubricity.”

The oils are designed for durability. “With patented antioxidants, these biosynthetics provide improved performance in oxidation stability over standard plant/vegetable/HETG and unsaturated HEES type fluids,” the supplier said. “The environmentally friendly, zinc-free product is ideal for vane, piston, and gear-type pumps and have shown excellent anti-wear performance in testing.”

With no heavy metals and low toxicity, the Bio-Process Oils are comparatively safer to use. They are “readily biodegradable, renewable, more fire resistant, EPA and ISO 1400 compliant, and have no volatile organic compounds,” the company said. “Their extremely low volatility increases the flash and fire safety features, making Bio-Process Oils safer for employees.”

The solution entered development stages after discovery of “the right emulsifier for bio-based dust suppressants,” Renewable Lubricants said. That achievement remedied “challenges such as ingredient compatibility, stability and homogeneity, ensuring environmental safety, effective field performance, and meeting cost and scalability requirements.”

An early adopter reported using the oils to improve work site safety. Prototype oils “achieved early success in Wyoming’s potash mines by significantly improving air quality and operational efficiency,” Renewable Lubricants said. Downstream benefits were reduced equipment maintenance needs. The oils “also helped the mines meet environmental regulations and promote the adoption of sustainable practices in the industry.”

Transfer Sealing System

Scrapetec has developed a contact-free side-skirt sealing system for belt conveyors. The system is suspended over the conveyor belt.

“By means of the unique diagonal arrangement of hardened lamellae, air is led from the outside into the middle of the belt, thus creating an air suction.” The suction effect is amplified by the movement of the belt and material. “Fine dust particles remain in the conveyor section,” Scrapetec said. “Additionally, coarse materials pushing outward are led back to the middle of the belt by the lamellae, significantly decreasing spill.”


The Dalamatic G2 Smart Collector can be installed in work areas with low headroom or a small footprint. (Image: Donaldson)

AirScrape “reduces the spill and dust formation at the transfer points and other critical sections in the conveyor chain,” the supplier said.

Designed for conveyor belt transfer points, DustScrape adds to AirScrape the DustBox system. The aptly named Dustbox integrates with and sits atop the Airscrape system for an added layer of dust management and filtration.

Smaller Collector Traps Dust

Donaldson Co. introduced the Donaldson Dalamatic G2 Smart Collector. Engineered to work with materials that create sticky or agglomerative dust, the unit includes Dura-Life bag filters that are more dynamic and provide twice the life of a standard 16-oz. polyester bag.

This continuous-duty collector is simple to install, easy to maintain, and provides a lower total cost of ownership, Donaldson Co. said. The unit can be installed in work areas with low headroom or a small footprint. An optional Torit Backward Inclined fan can be mounted on the top or side.

The system’s radial seal filter design and fixed cages can help reduce the time for filter changeouts by up to 75% over predecessor competition, the supplier said. The filters also contribute to improved pulse cleaning, which results in extended bag life, less maintenance and energy savings.

“The Dalamatic G2 Smart Collector is also integrated with the iCue Connected Filtration Technology,” the supplier said. The technology “tracks collector performance to deliver real-time analytics to help maximize uptime, increase maintenance efficiency, and manage critical compliance data.”