RST goes underground

2013 September - Australian Longwalls Magazine (website)

2013 September – Australian Longwalls Magazine

RST goes underground 

Dust management and soil stabilisation company Reynolds Soil Technologies is heading underground, with its latest technology providing a solution for water-based slurries formed in underground mines.

Geosorb is one of the latest products launched from RST’s and Proof Engineers’ Geopolymers product range and is a high performing superabsorbent formula specifically designed for slurry liquid solidification in underground mining.

Developed in conjunction with and validated by proof Engineers, which has a long-standing strategic alliance with RST, the Geosorb product was created when RST identified the need for advanced polymer based water management solutions in underground mines.

The biodegradable and environmentally friendly product can absorb water more than 400 times its own weight in water and can be easily applied to swillies, to solidify the watery sludge or slurry for disposal.

Following recent trials in underground minesites throughout Australia, the company said it found Geosorb was cost effective non-hazardous and an easily implemented dewatering solution for underground mines.

With most underground mines turning to hydraulic pumps, RST business development manager Paul Heimburger said Geosorb would provide an alternative material handling solution for underground mining companies dealing with unwanted water ingress.

“Underground water ingress is a huge problem for most mining companies in operation and the removal of the excess water can be extremely costly,” he said

“Geosorb is a high performing product and was designed for applications where watery sludge, slimes or slurries located in operational areas containing too many solids makes pumping impractical or are too diluted in density to be excavated or conveyed.

“Though there are specific pumps for removing water-based slurries, these are extremely heavy and bulky in size and are not always a preferable option for deep continually expanding mines.

“As underground minesites require a fast –acting and effective solution to manage groundwater issues or for creating these slurries, Geosorb can be applied to solidify the material for immediate disposal, without impeding production.

“Due to its non-water releasing encapsulation technology, slurries will be solidified with the advantage that contaminated fine particles are being removed from the mine through the process, ensuring the safety of mine workers and the environment.”

Heimberger said given Geosorb’s absorption qualities, minesites would only require a small amount to achieve maximum results.

Geosorb can also be applied to any watery slurry, obtaining immediate results – meaning you don’t have the issue of the dewatering system failing, which not only affects operation but can be costly to fix,” he said.

“As a result of its advanced technology, the Geosorb product can also be used in the application of a dewatering geotextile tube – improving the overall performance of this dewatering solution and enhancing its solid waste containment efficiency.”

Underground mining product specialist company CQMS Razer has been working with various underground minesites throughout Australia, which have been trialling the Geosorb technology.

CQMS Razer business manager Glenn Toner said the company had enjoyed successful results from the trials conducted so far, with the Geosorb product being an easy-to-use material handling solution for underground water management.

“As a result of our client’s trials, we have found that Geosorb has two key differences being volume and content characteristics in comparison to other applications currently on the market and products they have previously used,” Toner said.

“Clients tell us they want a product that can be easily transported and applied underground and is safe to handle – and we have found Geosorb is meeting this demand.”

Toner said Geosorb had been well-received by the minesites trialling the product, with underground coal mining companies already looking to use the technology in their regular water management system.

RST and Proof Engineers have launched a site of specially engineered super absorbent products, which will see both companies expand in multi-million dollar dust suppressant markets in the mining industries.

Queensland-based RST designed the latest suite of products for civil and mining purposes, using innovative super absorbent crystal solutions as high-performing binding an solidifying agents.

Requiring technical validation for its line of products, RST sought out Proof Engineers’ engineering expertise.

RST operations and technical director David Handel said with Proof Engineers’ assistance in the development of the Geopolymer range, the two companies had been able to successfully expand into new arenas – already achieving proven results.

“We had received many enquiries from companies wanting to find solutions specific to their industry, so our development team together with Proof Engineers designed the technology and systems to create these high absorbing, cross- linking polymers, allowing us to enter into new markets,” Handel said.

Proof Engineers Sebastian Karsas said the company had engineered each product to successfully maximise results and offer cost-effective alternative for areas that encased large amounts of water, sites that were prone to high water-wastage or applications where production was significantly affected by water-based materials.

“These Geopolymers are extremely advanced in technical structure, providing a fast-acting and highly effective solution to solve material handling challenges for specific areas where water, sludge or slurries are prevalent,” Karsas said.