Controlling Dust in Our Communities
One of the impact of our activities is the generation of road dust from transportation to and within the mining sites. Dust emissions must therefore be monitored and controlled.
Even though our roads in Nunavut are snow covered for a large part of the year, the Arctic dry climate makes their surface fairly susceptible to dust dispersion during the summer. In addition to its regular dustfall monitoring program, our Meliadine project in Nunavut has been conducting dust suppression trials on the 24 km All-weather access road (AWAR) between the site and Rankin Inlet.
In 2017, Meliadine’s Site Services team applied a mix of calcium chlorine, a substance approved by regulators, on the AWAR and around the airport, to test the effectiveness of the technique. After one and a half months, the team concluded that the mix worked well in suppressing and controlling dust in the air.
In its search for an even better solution, the team will test a more natural compound (wax and vegetable oil based) during the upcoming 2018 Spring-Summer season. A 2-kilometre trial will be conducted and results compared to calcium chlorine results. In the meantime, Meliadine will continue applying the calcium chlorine mix to the AWAR and other roads around the site.
According to Jeffrey Pratt, Meliadine’s Supervisor of Site Services, community response to the test trials has been very positive to date, with people expressing surprise to see such a clear difference.
“Dust is a major issue for us in the mining industry and here in the Kivalliq region. Fine crushed rock on the road surface quickly gets airborne and hangs there for long periods of time. It becomes a road safety concern because people can’t see where they’re driving. Responding to community concerns and ensuring the safety of travelers in the region is a priority for us. We also want to ensure that any products we use to suppress and control dust are environmentally sound.”
The 2018 dust trials will get underway in June or July and results will be reviewed and compared for further application.