Technical Note - Novel tracing technique for the coal preparation industry

Ayat, M. G. ; Leonard, J. W.
Organization: Society for Mining, Metallurgy & Exploration
Pages: 3
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1988
Introduction Coal preparation plants are continuously losing clean coal in their refuse and contaminating their clean coal product with impurities. This is due to the lack of a system by which the immediate efficiency of the cleaning operation can be determined at any given time. Moreover, the advantage of developing tagging/ tracing techniques would be a reduction in the time and money spent in evaluating the performance of advanced cleaning techniques. Currently, conventional sampling and testing, on-line analyses, and computer information systems are the major tools with which engineers analyze and control the efficiency of processing plants. Conventional sampling and testing is an effective analysis technique but it is slow. On-line analysis provides information on quality parameters rapidly, but these parameters do not provide all of the necessary information. The use of tagged particles in coal preparation plants may provide the necessary link between diagnosis and the application of computers to process control. In this work, a novel technique that uses tagged particles to generate partition data is presented (Leonard et al., 1982). Individually prepared tagged particles are added to the feed and detected in the product or refuse port of specific gravity based processes. Providing that a computer can interpret the output of a detection device and trace particles with predetermined physical properties through the coal preparation plant and that the trace particles actually represent desired raw material, sufficient partition data can be provided for computer analyses and control of processing efficiency. Coal tagging technique The use of tagged particles in coal preparation operations are in the early stages of development. Though there is a brief history of particle tracing in the mineral processing industry (Gardner et al., 1986; Foreman and Amundson, 1976; Poston et al., 1962), the concept has not yet been applied to the analysis and control of processing plant operations. Several methods for tagging coal particles have been identified. These include magnetic, radioactive, and fluorescent techniques. As far as the magnetic tagging of coal particles is concerned, a method has been developed to manufacture synthetic magnetic particles of various sizes and specific gravities. Ideally the synthetic particles would have identical size and density as the coal particles being separated.
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