Although the South American mining industry is strongly depressed at present due to weak commodity prices, environmental sustainability remains a priority.
As a result, dust suppression and haul road maintenance expert Dust-A-Side has taken South America’s major copper mining district Chile by storm over the past few years and continues to excel in delivering customised, site-specific services in a region recognised for its challenging location and weather conditions.
Operating mines in South America is extreme in terms of the geography and the weather. Despite this it has not posed any difficulties for Dust-A-Side Chile, which provides services to mine sites with haul roads close to 5 000 m above sea level, and for six months of the year, under severe winter conditions as well with temperatures reaching -20°C and 4 m of snow. It has been doing so since 2011.
“The high altitude mountain conditions in some instances has forced production ramps to have on occasion more than 12% steeps on a very hard base of road,” says Dust-A-Side Chile general manager Ramón J. Rada.
Dust-A-Side designs and manufactures emulsions and dust suppressants for production and industrial roads, slopes and material handling areas. It also provides complementary services on air quality, dust monitoring systems and data analysis on roads conditions are also available.
Rada explains why the company chose to establish a permanent footprint in Chile. “We followed an existing client onto the continent,” he notes. “Secondly, to be truly global your company needs to perform within the world´s most important mining districts, and thirdly, on an integrated world scenario, to be considered a world leader in dust control management your business is required to showcase its flexibility, mobility and adaptability. Dust-A-Side thinks globally and performs locally.”
Although it took the company six months to secure its first contract, the recognition it gained for its experience and knowledge immediately saw it grow and take on new project work – consistently.
Today, Dust-A-Side’s operation network totals about 150 km of industrial road (1 050 000 m²) and 24.5 km of haul road (882 000 m²) – distributed among Chilean mines: Los Pelambres, Los Bronces and Andina.
“And we are confident that our service delivery will result in long-term relationships with the Chilean mines that will be producing and supplying copper for the next 50 years.”
Dust-A-Side’s success in Chile over the past five years has seen it target additional mining regions on the continent – particularly Peru and Brazil. “We believe Chile will springboard us into these mining regions quickly,” Rada notes.
Fortunately, the company already has offices in Peru and Brazil to best service these areas and offer customised solutions to new mining clients. It is also a local partner of the Chilean South African Chamber of Commerce, Trade and Tourism.
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