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|Spirals have become one of the most popular methods for treating fine coal. Unfortunately, spirals tend to produce an undesirably high specific gravity cut point and often misplace significant amounts of coal and/or rock. In the present study, a process-engineering tool known as linear circuit analysis was used to identify problems with traditional spiral circuits and to suggest alternative configurations. These analyses indicate that a modified rougher-cleaner circuit incorporating a middlings recycle stream offers the best option for improving performance while maintaining a reasonable circulating load. In light of this finding, a full-scale test circuit was installed and evaluated at an existing preparation plant. Data obtained from the plant tests indicate that the new spiral circuit can simultaneously reduce the cut point and improve separation efficiency. Preliminary economic analysis show that the new circuit provides an attractive payback on capital investment.|