Automated Fine Coal Circuit Control: The Key to Improved Profitability

Pillai, K. Jay ; Christie, Richard D.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1994
In the past, it was not unusual for coal preparation plants to discard fine run-of-mine coal. This practice has changed due to increasing quantities of fine material, improvements in beneficiation methods, and the need to recover revenue from these fines. It is in this context that the coal industry has increasingly been turning to froth flotation for fine coal beneficiation. Reagent schemes have been developed to promote coal flotation and to treat the resulting refuse material. While reagent technology has improved, however, most plants rely on manual control of reagent dosing and circuit operation. This often results in misuse of reagents, loss of coal recovery, and consequent loss of revenue. Fine coal circuit operations can be dramatically improved through automation. Intelligent process control systems are now in use which are capable of optimizing reagent usage, maximizing coal recovery, and minimizing chemical costs associated with refuse handling. This paper describes a type of control system currently used in preparation plants, and provides data and information on the significant improvements such systems can produce.
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