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Mine site & production services

Mine-site & production services

ALS is a leader in operating mine-site based laboratories. These operations sample and analyse raw coal, product coal and rejects with a strong focus on short turnaround times. The results provide insight to the CHPP operators on processes within the coal preparation plant. ALS delivers this service in both resource company owned laboratories or by deployment of ALS owned mobile laboratories. The analysis performed at mine-site laboratories is often constrained by the turnaround requirements. Thus, ALS also provides more comprehensive, complex or unusual services through larger coalfields-based regional laboratories and unique small scale coal preparation plants.

Servicios de explotación minera y producción

The ALS difference

ALS recognises the prime consideration at mine-site laboratories is comprehensive shift coverage. Another fundamental requirement is well trained employees producing accurate results and robust equipment. We have a strong focus on safety with a culture that is aligned with the resources industry. All these components require robust supervisory support and systems. ALS provides fully trained and experienced laboratory technicians at mine-site laboratories. They are fairly remunerated in accordance with the Coal Mining and Manufacturing Awards and receive the Black Coal Long Service Leave payments. This provides lower staff turnover, greater productivity and better quality results.

Servicios de explotación minera y producción

Mine-site laboratories

ALS operates across approximately fifteen on-site coal laboratories, ranging from 2-person operations to 20-person operations. These laboratories receive senior management oversight at regional laboratories and from mine-site focused supervisors. All employees on site have received appropriate training through the ALS Coal competency based training program, LabSkills, and process samples using the standard ALS Coal “Current Best Method” work instructions. All mine-site laboratories participate in the ALS Coal in-house round robin analysis program. All laboratories now also capture data via a Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) which, if requested by the client, can directly upload data into the client’s data management system.

Modular laboratory solutions

Our modular laboratories allow coal mining companies to have a mine-site laboratory tailored to their mine’s requirements. These mine-site solutions comprise both a sample preparation and an analytical laboratory, with the scope of services defined by the mine-site prior to fabrication. ALS builds these modular facilities at the Richlands facility. Once fabricated, the electrical systems are approved by the site EEM prior to delivery, thus minimizing start-up delays.

New technologies

Innovation has allowed ALS to deliver safer, faster, and more controlled results on the mine-site. Recent innovations include:

  • Crush–Rotary Sample Divider Systems are typically tailored to a particular mine-site’s requirements. Knowing the primary sample mass, the nominal particle top-size and the moisture content of the coal, a crush/divide system is designed and fabricated such that it will automatically to produce a -4mm product of the required mass (i.e. ready for milling). These units are fully enclosed with in-built dust collection systems and rejects collection systems.
  • The Cyclone Milling System is a retrofitted cyclone sample collection system attached to commercially available striker mills. This process takes -4 mm coal to -212 µm while minimising fugitive coal dust and improving productivity through the mill.
  • The dust suppression systems allow laboratories to be fully air conditioned which produces a better work environment and more focused employees.
Mine-site management systems

ALS sees significant value in monthly formal meetings with clients to review the performance of the mine-site laboratory. ALS also typically provides monthly “Client Heath Reports”. These documents provide information to the customer on 1) any OHS issues that have arisen during the month and how these items were addressed, 2) shift coverage, 3) turnaround times, 4) Quality System performance including any Corrective Action Requests (CARs) that may have been generated and the laboratory’s performance in round robin exercises.

Production laboratories

ALS operates four production coal laboratories. Compared to the mine-site laboratories, the production laboratories provide more complex sample processing and analysis services. These laboratories are accredited to ISO17025 by the National Association of Testing Authorities (NATA). The production laboratories typically perform sample pickup runs and act as freight forwarding for high-end analysis. They provide both coal and environmental sampling services to mines.

In Vehicle Monitoring Systems

ALS has identified ten “Life Saving Rules” for the coal business. An important rule is “Safe Driving”. ALS Coal operates a fleet of utility vehicles and all these vehicles are fitted with In Vehicle Monitoring Systems (IVMS). IVMS provides feedback on speeding events, non-use of seatbelts, harsh starts, harsh braking etc. ALS Coal’s OHS Coordinator and the regional managers review this data on a monthly basis and provide counseling or disciplinary actions to employees who are not driving appropriately. The purpose of this is to instill culture change in the business and thereby save lives.

Pilot-scale coal preparation plants

ALS operates 2 pilot -scale coal preparation plants. These units provide a way of generating reasonable sized test samples for evaluation in pilot-scale coke ovens or for shipment to potential end-users. The larger unit can process between 1.5 to 20 tonnes of raw coal through a dense-medium cyclone, spirals or reflux classifier, and flotation cells. The smaller unit can process between 600 kg and 1.5 tonnes of coal through dense medium baths and cones, spirals, and column flotation processes.