Designing and managing unpaved opencast mine haul roads for optimum performance

Thompson, R. J. ; Visser, A. T.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 9
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2000
The expansion of surface mining has led to the development of very large off-highway trucks capable of hauling payloads in excess of 290 t (320 st). Mine haul roads have historically been designed empirically, relying heavily on local experience; the trend in increasing truck size will thus render the current pavement systems inadequate. Because truck haulage costs can account for 10% to 50% of the total costs incurred by a surface mine, not only would the maintenance costs of existing roads of inadequate design increase, but vehicle operating and maintenance costs would increase prohibitively. Thus, there is a need for improved design technologies encompassing the construction and management techniques of mine haul roads appropriate for the wheel loads of vehicles now in use. This paper presents the different components of a mine haul road design and management system and demonstrates the value of its application through case studies. The system has been applied at several South African surface mines, and distinct benefits have been derived. The improved structural design of a new road resulted in a 29% saving in construction costs and provided better service, while the optimal selection and management of wearing course materials provided better functionality at lower total transportation operating costs.
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