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Austmine 2023

Building a Smarter Haul Road


The trouble with haul road construction on mining sites is that the haul roads are seen as only temporary, or at best semi-permanent.

As such, they are often built in a hurry, with minimal expertise, and a lot of shortcuts taken to bring them into budget.

However, skimping on haul road design and haul road construction can actually have the opposite effect, leading to exorbitant road maintenance costs, prohibitive operational costs and impact upon production rates and safety.

The mistake many haul road planners make is not to take the total cost of ownership (TOC) of the asset into account.

After all, haul roads are the lifeline of any truck and shovel mining operation and therefore need to be considered as just that – a production asset.

Therefore it is critical to undertake a total life cycle analysis when planning for haul road construction  – particularly when the asset’s life may be 5 years, 10 years, 20 years or sometimes the life of the mine.

It’s not just a case of accepting lower upfront capital expenditure, it’s imperative to also factor in lower operating expenditure…and ON-GOING expenditure at that!

The haul road wearing course of a properly constructed haul road is key to realising these savings.

How to reduce the depth of the haul road wearing course and slash expenditure

While the base and sub-base of a haul road remains fairly constant at most mines, the top wearing course (base course) of an conventional unsealed haul road can traditionally range from 200mm up to 500mm in depth.

This is often seen as a “sacrificial” layer that can be replenished regularly…but at great expense. However, what if the haul road wearing course could be reduced to just 100mm, plus sealed and stabilised to reduce deterioration, and minimise road maintenance?

That’s precisely what happens with a Dust-A-Side designed haul road which is stabilised by DAS Product, a specially formulated emulsion of bitumen in water that binds the wearing course material together and enhances waterproofing.

A smarter haul road system

With our haulroad management services, you’ll end up with a permanent asset, one that’s durable enough to survive the life of the haul road, provided it is maintained correctly.

And even though there will obviously be an upfront cost of incorporating the DAS Product, this can be 100% offset by the savings you’ll make on the hundreds of tonnes of gravel that will no longer need to be blasted, crushed, screened, transported, placed and compacted on a conventional unsealed haul road.

Savings are also made longer term, by:

  • Reducing/ eliminating the need for on-going road maintenance and water carts for dust suppression
  • Lowering fuel usage costs through improved rolling resistance, and
  • Improving tyre life due to a better running surface and less water (which accelerates tyre wear)

Then of course, there’s the improved productivity achieved through:

  • Faster recovery times after wet weather
  • Faster cycle times via improved rolling resistance, and
  • Reduced dust levels to avoid operational delays due to excessive dust.

And lastly, not to mention, enhanced safety and sustainability through lower:

  • Dust levels
  • Likelihood of uncontrolled movements
  • CO2 emissions, and
  • Operator fatigue
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