Together with our partner Arrow Transportation, TNDC has achieved its first contract with JDS Silver’s Silvertip Mine, hauling zinc concentrate via the Tahltan Arrow joint venture. Arrow Transportation is an industry leader in bulk commodity hauling. Under the contract, Tahltan Arrow is hauling two loads a day from the bottom of the mine site west of Watson Lake, near the Yukon-British Columbia border down Highway 37 to Stewart Bulk Terminals in Stewart. This marks the second contract for the Tahltan Arrow partnership; the first is with the Red Chris mine.
The Silvertip contract is employing six people, utilizing two trucks operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The trip time averages 12 to 14 hours, depending on weather conditions. Under the initial one-year contract, Tahltan Arrow will haul an estimated 25,000 tonnes of concentrate. The concentrate is being hauled in special Super B units with a side tipper for unloading and nine axles to support the weight.
The 9 axle Super B is the heaviest B train allowed on BC roads and requires special permits from the Ministry of Transportation. The government imposes restrictions on who can drive the units due to their weight: the 9 axle Super B can legally carry 72,300 kg on the road; the 8 axle Super B is allowed 63,500 kg. Winter road conditions also require highly experienced and skilled transport drivers.
Darrell Remple, Arrow’s Division Manager in Stewart, shares perspective. “Safety is our highest priority. The bulk of these units and the driving conditions require the best transport drivers. They need to have the experience, aptitude and confidence to handle the loads, navigate the roads, trouble shoot mechanical issues and physically respond to hazardous weather conditions.”
To meet government permit and industry safety requirements, Arrow has a strict and comprehensive training program. To begin driving an 8 axle Super B, Arrow provides 250 hours of training to drivers with one to two years’ experience driving heavy equipment. New Super B drivers train with an experienced driver, then follow an experienced driver on the road for anywhere from one to six months, as long as needed for the new driver to feel comfortable driving solo. They need a minimum of two years’ experience driving the 8 axle Super B before graduating to the 9 axle Super B.
TNDC and Arrow Transportation are eager to bring more Tahltans under the Tahltan Arrow partnership, building capacity while fostering local employment. Under the Red Chris contract, Tahltan Arrow is hauling 150,000 tonnes a year. It equals 10 loads a day and employs 18 drivers operating seven trucks a day, 24 hours a day.
Peter Arendt, CEO of TNDC, says the Tahltan Arrow Joint Venture spotlights the enhanced capability TNDC brings through its partnerships, which benefits the natural resource industry. “Arrow Transportation has the specialized trucks, experienced drivers and commitment to safety that has earned the company a first-rate reputation as a transportation leader in bulk commodity hauling, making them a valuable business partner.”