With twenty years of industry innovation under its belt, Australia’s only mine-to-site manufacturer of ventilation control and strata support solutions has a lot to celebrate.
Presenting at the Australian Coal Operators’ Conference in Wollongong last week, Aquacrete’s business development manager, Greg Kay, unveiled trial results that could set the standard for life-of-mine planning and design of structural devices in underground mines.
Having led the field with full-scale live explosion testing of its products as early as 1998, the ability to engineer structures to conform to the most adverse site specifications has been a key feature of Aquacrete products.
“Being the only manufacturer in Australia that mines and processes our own raw gypsum and manufactures on site, we have absolute confidence that our products consistently perform to specification and meet quality standards that we have full control of. Combined with the engineering design and certification process that we developed to support our mining clients, we also have the advantage of a fully equipped in-house laboratory that specialises in gypsum-based product testing. With that as a foundation, we have been well-placed to take another innovative step forward for the industry,” Greg comments.
With structures in place in more than 80% of underground coal mines and an increasing number of hard rock mines, it has paved the way for the development of in-situ, echo impact testing and a new site audit system that Aquacrete is rolling out to mines across Australia.
“While systems for designing devices to meet site specification are now widely accepted, we realised that there were very limited standards and specifications to measure the long term structural integrity of devices.”
“Mine managers are looking for solutions that are not just cost-effective, but more importantly provide long term reassurance that the installations are still safe and strong. Having a reliable and accurate audit process – including our ability to non-destructively test devices in-situ - provides substantial operational and safety benefits for the industry,” he explains
“As underground mines increasingly focus on life-of-mine planning, understanding the long term behaviour of structural devices will play an increasingly important role in ventilation and strata management planning,” he says.
As the demand for more verification has grown, it is anticipated that other importers and suppliers of ventilation control and strata support products will be under pressure to benchmark their products’ effectiveness.