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How to improve the road audit process in open cut mines

December 10, 2019
by Patrick Doig

When you speak to an open cut mine manager, they will tell you that safety is the one thing that keeps them up at night. Outside of the workshop, the use of haul roads provides one of the highest exposures to risk. In a typical mine, there are often 300 tonne plus trucks running in multiple directions on the haul roads, together with mix of light vehicles and ancillary equipment.

The construction and maintenance of compliant roads is a crucial element to running mine operations, and there is a growing focus on road audit and compliance. However, conducting road audits is usually a manual and time-consuming process. It is also difficult to maintain in an environment where roads and safety bunds are often rapidly changing, and labour is expensive.

The typical road audit process involves surveyors or engineers measuring gradients manually in the field. They can also use the combination of a manual CAD and spreadsheet process – by taking periodic slices through the Lidar or dtm modules and manually measuring the distances and gradients of the road. This often takes more than 40 hours of work for a single operation. As a result, the process is completed rarely, with high cost and disconnected from the operation. Most times, the roads change before the process is completed.

Deswik has identified this as a high value area for process automation, enabling faster feedback and reducing cost. We have developed the Deswik Road Audit tool, an application which semi-automates the road auditing process and reduces reporting turnaround times while increasing consistency.

The tool measures road and bund actuals and compares them to the site requirements and highlights non-compliant areas in a single audit process. This has seen a reduction in the typical road audit process – what may have taken over 40 hours to complete for 20km of roads, is now down to less than 30 minutes. The automated outputs of this process include new refined road centerlines, road sections, polygons showing noncompliance for plotting and reporting, bund noncompliance areas, and so on.

By completing the process using the integrated Deswik solutions, productivity analysis can be run on the outputs to determine the potential production uplift gained by modifying the roads. Detailed designs can also be created and sent directly to machine guidance systems for rectification works. By using the Deswik Road Audit tool, sites can complete the road audit process much faster, allowing operations to get quicker feedback and free up personnel to complete value-add tasks.

The Deswik Road Audit tool is part of the Deswik.AdvSurvey module.

For more information on the Road Audit Tool, contact your nearest Deswik office.