Review of Australian Dewatering Practice for Fine Coal and Tailings

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 7
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1991
The issue of fine coal and tailings dewatering has become of increasing concern to many coal preparation operators, both in Australia and overseas due to a variety of factors. Increasing mechanisation and mining of thinner seams over the past decades has resulted in an increasing amount of fines generation while increasing international trade in coal and tighter environmental constraints on tailings disposal have resulted in the production of these same fines to be an increasing problem. However, technology to date has not always been able to supply a cost-effective solution to the handling of these fines in an efficient and environmentally benign manner. This paper will review the key issues associated with the dewatering of fine coal and tailings, will describe the major current practices and constraints, and finally will indicate alternative technologies that may have to be considered in the near future. For the purpose of this paper, "fine" coal is described as that material less than 0.5 mm in diameter (as this is the most common cutpoint between various plant circuits in Australian practice), although the technological constraints are very much dependent upon the fraction less than 45 micron. The amount of minus 0.5 mm material fed to plants varies, depending upon the type of coal and mining operation, but in Australia may range from less than ten per cent to greater than 30 per cent of the feed in higher rank coals.
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