How glass flake technology protects critical mine assets
Protecting critical infrastructure from harsh magnesium dust is an ongoing challenge at the Queensland Magnesia (QMAG) mine – one of the world's largest producers of magnesia for the global refractory and chemical markets. Located in Kunwarara, magnesite is mined, pre-concentrated and treated at the site before being transported to nearby Rockhampton for processing.
A unique coatings challenge
Magnesium mining is a dusty business. QMAG’s infrastructure – including beams, conveyor belts and chutes – is constantly exposed to layers of highly corrosive magnesium dust. It’s also cleaned using locally sourced water, which has a high salt content.
“Magnesium dust is highly corrosive and will quickly rust the steel substrate if not protected by a high performance coating,” says Dulux Protective Coatings technical sales representative, Rod Mann.
To ensure robust protection of its infrastructure assets, the team at QMAG conducted its own product trials, comparing various coatings to see how they performed in the magnesium mine setting.
“Ultimately, Dulux Protective Coatings products were determined to be the best fit for the job,” Rod says.
Our solution: glass flake technology
Dulux Protective Coatings tailored a system to effectively protect QMAG’s key infrastructure from corrosive elements such as magnesium dust and salt: after preparing surfaces with a full abrasive blast, two coats of Duremax GFX were applied at 250-300 microns per coat, followed by a topcoat of Weathermax HBR at 75-100 microns.
“Duremax GFX is an ultra premium, high solids, high build surface-tolerant epoxy with superior glass flake reinforced pigmentation,” Rod explains.
Duremax GFX contains a high level volume of microscopic glass flake which results in a barrier of overlapping, impermeable glass plates in the coating film.
“These glass flakes create a ‘torturous path’ for the corrosive magnesium dust and water borne salts, making it extremely difficult for them to access the steel substrate,” Rod says.
“The final step in the coatings system – the Weathermax HBR topcoat – provides critical UV protection in Kunwarara’s hot, dry environment.”
The Weathermax HBR colour used across all QMAG infrastructure is Manila – an Australian Standards colour.
More than five years on, the Dulux PC system continues to deliver the durability and corrosion protection QMAG require and expect.
Managing constant maintenance
QMAG’s infrastructure is protected via an ongoing maintenance program using our proven Duremax GFX and Weathermax HBR system.
“The mine site is huge, with a vast array of business-critical infrastructure than needs ongoing protection. A major maintenance program like this requires high performance products, which is why Duremax GFX and Weathermax HBR are an ideal choice,” Rod says.