Mine haul roads are essential to the functionality, profitability, and safety of a mine. A poorly designed mine haul road can cost active mines millions of dollars, jeopardizing the site’s continued operation. Traditionally, mine haul roads are wasteful and unnecessarily expensive. Costs add up because of:
- The amount of aggregate used in initial road construction
- Maintenance needed to fix deteriorating road conditions
- Work stoppage due to unsafe road conditions
To avoid continuous rehabilitation of haul roads, a strategic design that considers the characteristics of the subgrade soil is a must. Using Swamp Grid™ (a robust composite geogrid) to construct mine haul roads has proven to be highly effective for road performance and helping to keep mines running efficiently.
An Innovative Approach to Base Reinforcement
Swamp Grid™ is a unique base reinforcement product specially designed and manufactured in-house at Titan Environmental. It consists of a biaxial geogrid bonded to a continuous filament nonwoven geotextile by a precision heat bonding process. The geogrid acts as reinforcement, whereas the geotextile works as a soil separator and filter to prevent contamination of the aggregate base by fines from the subgrade.
It performs as an all-in-one geogrid solution that offers soil reinforcement with added soil filtration, soil separation, and sub-base drainage performance. As a composite product Swamp Grid™ works to effectively stabilize saturated soils that are susceptible to piping, prevent loss of imported granular material into the soft subgrade, and increase weight-bearing capacity making it the ideal design solution for:
- Infrastructure construction on sites with saturated soil conditions; and
- Infrastructure construction that must sustain frequent and heavy equipment travel such as mine haul roads
Designing Soil Reinforcement for Weak Subgrades
Constructing a properly engineered road that considers soil type is essential to the long-term efficiency and use of the road. In Northern Ontario, for example, a clay base is common and susceptible to having weaker subgrades that requires proper reinforcement. Repetitive heavy dump truck traffic concentrated over a weak subgrade can severely impact the performance of a mine haul road. In addition to creating unnecessary costs and wasting time, the constant rehabilitation of an underperforming haul road can have significant negative impacts on the environment, including increased carbon footprint and gas emissions.
Geogrids vs. the Conventional Method for Mine Haul Roads
Having a properly engineered road that considers all soil types is the key to success — and the key to keeping your mine profitable and in service.
The conventional method of repeatedly packing aggregate on top of the subgrade causes environmental damage that should be avoided. Swamp Grid™ addresses these challenges with its superior design. It provides all stakeholders with a solution, reducing costs by 40% and providing stronger, safer roads.
Swamp Grid™ in Action
Traditional methods of building mine haul roads often come with a high price tag and a lot of waste. So, when you’re pricing out something temporary like a haul road, the cost matters. In 2016, our client in Northern Ontario looked to us to save money and build a stronger base that would be resistant to extreme weather temperatures.
Our client initially planned to use 1.0m of compacted crushed rock backfill (aggregate base) over the compacted clay subgrade on site when constructing their mine haul road. As this approach would have caused lateral movement under heavy axle loads, essentially needlessly wasting aggregate, Titan recommended the installation of Swamp Grid™ at the bottom of the aggregate base layer This was after understanding more about the compacted clay and rock/granite base being constructed on.
This solution provided our client with significant savings by allowing them to use far less aggregate base (0.7 m thick vs. 1.0 m) making for 2,087 less truck loads per 80,000sqm area to build the road. This resulted in cost savings of over $1 million and >40 % embodied carbon reduction (EC).
Further, its effectiveness was maintained in adverse and harsh weather conditions common in Northern Ontario due to the ground heaving due to freezing and thawing.
Benefits of Swamp Grid™
- Reduces amount of aggregate needed = construction cost savings.
- Reduces soil excavation and backfilling = construction cost savings.
- Minimizes differential settlement and prevents upward movement of the subgrade = higher structural performance.
- Improves overall structural life= maintenance cost savings.
- Improves drainage = maintenance cost savings
In addition to mine haul roads, Swamp Grid™ provides solutions for a variety of applications:
- Site subgrades
- Railway ballasts
- Oil platform access roads
- Temporary military roads
- Forestry and logging roads
- Coastal roads
- Parking lots
- Under hydro-electric transmission line towers
- Foundation support
Titan’s Geogrid Solutions
All our product solutions are backed by comprehensive engineering and specialized technical support. Using the latest and advanced design software, we work with engineers and consultants all over the world. We are happy to provide complimentary application specific preliminary designs. We can also provide detailed designing and working calculations including construction drawings, and crucial specification and installation details.
Want to learn more about SWAMP GRID™ or our other smart technologies? We’re happy to help find the best solution for you. Book a consultation or request a project pre-design with us below.
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