Mongolia is the ultimate in extreme climates. Although most of the country is hot in summer, temperatures can plummet to -30oC in winter. This makes Ulaanbaatar the coldest capital city on the planet with an average temperature of -1.3oC.
We were contacted by Bitumina in early 2018 to discuss developing a cold asphalt mix that could withstand the extremes of temperature – up to 70-80oC – experienced in Ulannbaatar.
In the Spring we started work with the proposed aggregates and bitumen in our UK Lab, designing the optimum quality cold mix product for their Summer and Winter climates. Once completed, we traveled to Mongolia in July 2018 to repeat the optimised mix in their recently commissioned dedicated mixing plant.
Within 4 days we had reproduced the optimised mixes for Summer and Winter grade cold asphalt. Bitumina then went into full production making and bagging the cold mix end product which they named ‘Bitufix’. The Mongolian team at Bitumina were fully dedicated to the project’s success and an absolute pleasure to work with.
As a result material laid in July as trials is already performing well in tough conditions several months later. This has lead to orders to be delivered ahead of the onset of Winter. The material will be inspected again once the Winter season has finished.
Only about 20% of the 50,000 km of roads in Mongolia are asphalt paved roads. The remainder are dirt or gravel mainly leading out the city. In 2019, it is expected that over 2,000 km of new paved roads will be completed to connect all province centers to the capital city Ulaanbaatar.
As the market leaders in Mongolia Bituminia have signed a 5 year licence to sell their Bitufix cold asphalt mix.