Airstrip Upgrade - Dash on EBS treated Airstrip
Soil Solutions recently completed another Tanzanian Airstrip upgrade project. Already being familiar with Soil Solutions approach and performance delivery for the upgrade of gravel airstrips after having worked together during September of 2011 on the upgrade of the Kahama Airstrip located at the Buzwagi Mine, African Barrick Gold, (now Acacia Mining), informed Soil Solutions of their need to both widen and lengthen the existing airstrip at the Bulyanhulu Mine and once completed to apply EBS (Engineered Base Stabilizer) as a surface seal for erosion control and dust suppression.

The charter pilots that work for Acacia mining were also supportive of this project, knowing the superior results that were achieved at the Kahama airstrip and having significantly decreased the damage to the planes.

The Bulyanhulu Mine is in northwest Tanzania, in the Kahama district of the Shinyanga region, approximately 55 km south of Lake Victoria and 150 km southwest of the city of Mwanza.

The airstrip at Bulyanhulu was widened and lengthened using a mix of laterite and rocky gravel to a total length of 1.7 kilometers by a width of 36 meters, and has regular landings of a Dash and King Air 350.

The initial stage of the project was the expansion of the airstrip, due to a number of reasons, the airstrip was left untreated for nearly two years.  During this time the loose gravel on the surface was causing poor landing and takeoff conditions, creating excessive dust, contributing to unnecessary wear and tear to the aircraft tyres and causing damage to the aircraft during prop wash.   The rainy seasons had resulted in material loss, and allowed erosion to occur.  The difference between this airstrip and the Kahama airstrip were now very profound, and led to the decision for a EBS application.

Soil Solutions sent a senior technical advisor to oversee the preparation and subsequent EBS Surface Seal of the Airstrip during November 2014.  The preparation and application process took just over 6 days to complete, including delays due to rain.

The benefits provided included: a flexible and water resistant surface which will be protected from erosion, loss of fines, cracking and pothole formation and most importantly will eliminate dust, provide for improved skid resistance, safety, visibility and a significant reduction in both runway and aircraft maintenance.

Additional benefits include highly visible FOD (foreign object debris), improved pilot visibility on approach and take off, a continuous hard smooth surface, extended aircraft engine and tyre life, use of an environmentally friendly product and most important NO DUST resulting in another successful Intelligent Airstrip project completed by the Soil Solutions team.