Preliminary Design Considerations

Symonds, Donovan F.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 31
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
INTRODUCTION The selection of the optimum coal preparation plant flowsheet is a vital part of the development of a new plant or the expansion of an existing facility. Selection of an inappropriate flowsheet or individual equipment items can result in costly production losses, or needless expenditures or redundant or oversized equipment. The accuracy of the flowsheet selection process is, like most decisions, heavily dependent upon the amount, reliability, and quality of the database. A flowsheet which is based on simple borehole information from an area that has experienced little or no previous mining activity must necessarily include significant allowances for uncertainties. However, a plant which is to be built at an existing mine with good information on run-of-mine (ROM) coal quality, as well as bulk washability data and accurate projections of future quality, can be optimized. The following chapter will describe the processes which should be followed to select the most appropriate flowsheet for each unique operation. They include: 1. Examining and adjusting the washability database to reflect the ROM feed. 2. An evaluation of clean coal specifications. 3. Selection of the level of washing required. This includes no washing, if the coal is already at the desired specification, all the way through to complex total washing circuits for metallurgical grade coals. 4. Selection of the appropriate circuit such as dense medium bath vs. Baum jig. The most appropriate circuit is generally determined on the basis of economics. An approach for performing the evaluation will be desired. 5. The steps that need to be followed to develop a balanced plant flowsheet. ADJUSTING WASHABILITY DATA It is not unusual to have as many as 10 to 20 sets of washability information available for a particular mining property. These may be a combination of core and bulk samples or all bulk samples. In the latter case, they may also be face and/or ROM samples. It is necessary to reduce all of this information to a single set of washability data that is representative of the mean feed to the proposed preparation plant. This set is used to compare the clean coal yield and quality characteristics of the various flowsheet options. The term "representative" has some serious negative connotations. It is recognized that ROM coal quality will vary throughout a mine. However, over a period of 250 to 350 days per year, certain trends can be established. If possible, this "representative" sample should be close to the coal quality of the mean daily sample in terms of raw ash and sulfur contents, clean coal yield, and clean coal ash and sulfur content. If possible, this sample should be within the
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