Société Minière de Boké (SMB) Bauxite - Case Study
With the world’s largest bauxite reserves, it makes sense that SMB is Africa’s leading bauxite producer and one of the biggest exporters of the ore in the world.
The Société Minière de Boké (SMB) Winning Consortium consists of four global partners specializing in bauxite mining, production, and transportation.
SMB heavily participates in Guinea’s economic and social development with an estimated 600 million US dollars in 2018 alone. Great success is accompanied by a lot of work. It’s suggested that the SMB mine haul road is used by up to 5000 vehicles per day.
The SMB Bauxite mine in Guinea, Africa was looking for an environmentally friendly solution to reduce their impact on local communities from dust due to heavy traffic. In 2018, after a successful trial road application, Cypher Environmental’s products treated a 20 km stretch of road from the mine to the port with Dust Stop® and EarthZyme® with the help of our Chinese distributor, RoadPlus.
Heavily trafficked roads and extreme weather conditions in Guinea were creating several dangerous problems for people accessing the road and the local community surrounding the 20km stretch of road. On average, more than three trucks per minute pass on this road, or 80,000 tons of ore transported daily. Vehicles weighing 60 to 90 tons pass on this arterial road from the mine to the port.
Africa is affected by very dry summers, which produces heavy dust. This causes huge safety issues due to the high traffic volumes. Along with mineworkers, the community also utilizes this road. Because of such high traffic volumes, a lot of dust is emitted into the air making it hard to see — a big safety issue — especially for motorcycles and open vehicles. The excess dust also causes a health threat to the community and the surrounding vegetation.
To combat the dust, they needed to water their two main roads 7-10 times per day, with more than 80 water trucks and 300 drivers on sunny days. This resulted in high maintenance costs.
The wet season holds other road issues. The red soil on the road is easily washed away by heavy rain, which has a great impact on the ecological environment of the river. Guinea experiences more than 3,000 mm of annual precipitation making the clay roads damaged, slippery, and very dangerous. It’s not uncommon for heavy machinery to begin to sink into the road causing increased safety issues, delays, and costly road and vehicle repairs. In the 41-kilometer road of Guangyi Port arena, SMB used over 90 people and 40 vehicles to maintain the high-intensity roads daily.
While there are other benefits of using Cypher Environmental products, like saved operational expenses and increased production, the SMB Winning Consortium considered it their corporate social responsibility to find an environmentally-friendly solution to their dust control issues. The SMB bauxite mine wanted to minimize the mine’s impact on the community, so they reached out to Cypher Environmental for help.
After the trial road was treated with Cypher products, the mine designed a test that simulated 30mm of rain, per day, for two weeks. After the heavy traffic continued to use the road with little to no damage to the vehicles and increased productivity, SMB decided to stabilize the additional 20km of the road with Dust Stop® and EarthZyme®.
With two extreme weather conditions to deal with, Cypher Environmental used different applications of Dust Stop® and EarthZyme® to enhance the road and create a mega highway. Not only was this solution environmentally-friendly, but it created high-quality roads that increased production and reduced dust emissions.
SMB saw a huge improvement in productivity and maintenance costs. The local community noticed that the trees surrounding the road were no longer red with dust. The environment surrounding the road is pristine again.
Traffic continues to flow quickly — a benefit to workers and the community that utilizes the road — and trucks can drive faster and more safe during rainfall due to better traction. There are no longer trucks sinking into the clay and there is much less maintenance needed after heavy rainfall.
During both seasons there are fewer environmental and health issues for the community, production is increased, and SMB is seeing their operational expenses decrease.