The state of Wyoming produced 40% of the coal used by the United States. The vast majority of this production is done in open pit mines, with coal varying between high-sulfur anthracite to lower sulfur bituminous coal. The common factor in extracting this valuable resource is sulfur.
Sulfur is a volatile element, which readily combines with other elements such as carbon and hydrogen. When combined with rainwater, sulfur becomes sulfuric acid. Environmentally speaking, acid rain is a concern, often debated for its effects on wetlands, birth defects through acid deposition, and advanced deterioration of man-made structures, from statues to the bolts and ironworks of bridges. Mines are better suited to being in remote locations due to the dangers extraction could have on the local population.
On a localized level, sulfuric acid had more impact on something you might not consider: heavy equipment tires. That’s right, the very equipment relied upon to extract coal is in and of itself a workplace hazard. In an open-pit site, the coal is exposed to the elements, and when rock scrapers, loaders, and trucks travel through a sulfur-rich compound such as coal dust, the caustic, corrosive solvents this creates will eventually begin to break down your vehicles’ tires. Keeping equipment clean and constantly maintained helps prevent premature wear and tear on metal parts, but what about the rubber on the road?
Even though sulfuric acid was originally used in the creation of vulcanized rubber, protecting it from the changes in temperature commonly associated with life on planet Earth, over-exposure to sulfuric acid will cause rubber to become brittle and inevitably fail. Not only will the constant need to replace damaged tires slow down your operation, but it could create the potential for loss of life.
When buying tires, you must consider the type of terrain your fleet of heavy equipment will be handling. Also, consider the environment your equipment is coming from as well. The same tires that were used in a copper mine have been exposed to different elements than those which are found in a coal pit and vice versa. If your company is using vehicles for another sort of operation, be sure the tires are inspected and replaced as needed for the new job.
Contact us to learn more about what sort of conditions our tires can handle. Chances are we have the right kind of rubber for any kind of mining road you are traveling, able to handle the rigors of mining, extraction, and reclamation, in any kind of climate, any kind of terrain.