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Large pilot-scale coal preparation

Large pilot-scale coal preparation

ALS operates two pilot-scale coal preparation plants. The larger plant processes raw coal samples of between 1.4 to 20 tonnes. This plants accurately simulate a broad range of full-scale coal preparation plant processes. It has significant value in that it can evaluate the washability behavior of a coal and produce washed products in a way that is closely aligned with the product that might be achieved from an operating mine.

The pilot-scale coal preparation plants are employed to achieve three main goals:

  • To supplement bore-core programs to provide sufficient information for the design of a full-scale coal preparation plant.
  • To provide "end-products" which undergo comprehensive testing to provide a clear understanding of the utilization potential of the coal as a thermal or coking coal. The product may also be shipped to various potential end-users to allow these parties to understand the nature of the coal as it would be produced from an operating mine.
  • To provide processing stream samples to assist with the full-scale coal preparation plant design. Individual plant streams can be collected, analyzed, and provided to processing equipment suppliers to evaluate their equipment performance. The reject materials are also collected from the plant and can be dispatched for environmental testing and other testing associated with disposal of rejects.
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Process overview

The pilot-scale coal preparation plant includes appropriate equipment to handle and process coal through various coarse, fine and ultra-fine circuits. The plant does not wash all fractions concurrently as in a typical wash plant. After separating the coal into the required size fractions, the coarse, fine and ultra-fine coals are processed individually through stand-alone circuits. This allows for greater control of the sample processing stages.

The following provides guidance on the processing of a coal and the equipment available within the pilot-scale coal preparation plant.

Control systems

The plant contains appropriate control systems including nuclear density gauge, a full suite of density tracers, and automatic medium density control based on CITEC SCADA system. There are also two 10 tonne product bins, 1,200 mm and 600 mm Kasson screens, horizontal vacuum belt filter, water recovery and recycling systems. An on-site cold room allows for sample storage to reduce the degradation of the coal’s properties.,

Laboratory support

If there is limited coal washability information on the plant feed, ALS Coal is able to collect a sample to conduct a full washability analysis which can be used to identify the target densities to meet yield and target ash values. Each of the pilot plant products are typically dried, weighed and subsampled for ash percent. This provides guidance on the product ash and yield. A simulated overall plant product can be targeted by proportional blending of the product streams

Finally, comprehensive coal characterisation is provided on simulated product by sub-sampling the products and rejects and processing the coal through ALS’ extensive laboratory network.

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Small Pilot-scale Coal Preparation

For smaller samples, ALS provides a pilot-scale coal preparation plant with the capability of processing between 600 kg and 1.5 tonnes of coal.