World Coal Issue 3 2021

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ISSUE 3 2021 03 Comment


Accounting For Every Step

ALLU Finland describes how a single piece of equipment can incorporate the several steps involved in the mining process.

05 World News 08 The Future Challenges Of Coal Sabrin Chowdhury, Fitch Solutions, Singapore, provides insight into the future of the coal industry in Southeast Asia and Australasia, and the potential challenges it could face.

23 Favouring Fibre Pendants Paul Badeau, Applied Fiber, USA, explains why fibre pendants are being adopted by dragline and shovel operators.


Weighing Up The Options Caleb Tidball, Cardinal Scale, USA, discusses whether analogue or digital trucks scales should be used in coal mining production.


MINExpo Preview 2021 Ahead of this year’s MINExpo INTERNATIONAL®, 13 – 15 September 2021, World Coal (Booth 1838, North Hall) previews some of the companies that will be exhibiting at the Las Vegas Convention Center.


Advancing Automation James Yates, Caterpillar, Australia, reviews a recent longwall system update the company implemented at an underground coal mine.


The Only Way Is Up Richard Spaargaren, ESI Eurosilo, the Netherlands, outlines how fully enclosed coal storage enables future-proof and more sustainable performance of today’s coal fired power plants.


More Pressure, Less Problems: Part One In the first part of a two-part article, Steve Meiring, PasteTech Pty Ltd, Australia, provides a comprehensive comparison of the pressures of various dewatering technologies for fine coal tailings.

53 Filtering Reliability Andrea Pezzi, Diemme Filtration, part of the Aqseptence Group, Italy, explains how and where filter presses can help in the coal industry. ®



The upcoming PMC-R 2.0 is the third generation Cat® roof support control unit and offers an ideal solution for longwall operations to update their current system to improve functionality and increase lifecycle and operational support. PMC-R 2.0 offers expanded communication capabilities, enhanced computing power, increased operator convenience and maintenance serviceability, which ultimately leads to increased productivity and reduced cost of ownership. During the underground validation testing, the new PMC-R 2.0 control units demonstrated outstanding performance at mine site, exceeding production and availability targets. Thanks to the performance of the PMC-R 2.0, the validation site was able to achieve a new mine record for the shortest time to produce the first 100 000 t of coal following the longwall relocation and then consistently exceeded weekly production targets. To learn more, visit

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SENIOR EDITOR Callum O’Reilly DEPUTY EDITOR Will Owen EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Jessica Casey SALES DIRECTOR Rod Hardy SALES MANAGER Ryan Freeman PRODUCTION Kyla Waller ADMINISTRATION MANAGER Laura White DIGITAL ADMINISTRATOR Lauren Fox DIGITAL EVENTS COORDINATOR Louise Cameron DIGITAL EDITORIAL ASSISTANT Bella Weetch VIDEO CONTENT ASSISTANT Molly Bryant World Coal (ISSN No: 0968-3224, USPS No: 020-997) is published four times per year by Palladian Publications Ltd, GBR, and distributed in the USA by Asendia USA, 17B S Middlesex Ave, Monroe NJ 08831. Periodicals postage paid New Brunswick, NJ, and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: send address changes to World Coal, 701C Ashland Ave, Folcroft PA 19032. Annual subscription (monthly) £110 UK including postage, £125 overseas (airmail). Two-year discounted rate (monthly) £176 UK including postage, £200 overseas (airmail). Claims for non-receipt of issues must be made within four months of publication of the issue or they will not be honoured without charge.

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hey were a long time coming, but the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympic Games finally arrived. Originally due to be hosted in the summer of 2020, the Games were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. One year later, with empty stands and ‘Olympic bubbles’ in place, the green light was finally given for the 11 000+ qualified athletes to participate in 339 events, across 33 sports, in 50 disciplines, for the entertainment of avid sports fans glued to their mobile devices and television screens all over the globe. As the Games progressed, it became clear that the race for top spot on the medal table was going to be another two-horse race between old rivals, China and the US. After two weeks of intense competition, the US won out this time. However, the Olympics has not been the only competition China has had its eye on in recent months. With stringent climate change restrictions on the horizon, the race to maintain current capacity and to establish new, viable coal production is on. According to a Reuters report from June, 432 new coal mine projects (2.28 billion tpy of capacity) are currently being planned by the world’s coal producers, and China is right at the heart of this expansion.1 Indeed, according to a study by US think-tank Global Energy Monitor, “China, Australia, India, and Russia account for more than three quarters of the new projects [… and] China alone is now building another 452 million t of annual production capacity.”1 Moreover, another recent Reuters report outlines how China is encouraging qualified coal mines to expand production capacity, “in an effort to boost coal supply and cool prices of the commodity.”2 These efforts will no doubt prove to be of great benefit to the global coal chain, to say nothing of further cementing China’s position as the world’s largest coal producer – a title the country has held since the early 1990s.3 In other coal industry news, another notable two-horse race is set take place in Southeast Asia and Australasia, where Indonesia and Australia are forecast to lead the thermal coal output field. In this latest issue of World Coal, Sabrin Chowdhury, Fitch Solutions, provides insight into the future of the coal industry in Southeast Asia and Australasia, and the potential challenges it could face. Chowdhury’s report evaluates how “coal will remain the dominant source of power for most of Southeast Asia and Australasia in the coming decade at least”, projects how Indonesia and Australia will dominate regional thermal coal production in absolute terms, and discusses the latest coal news from other nations in the region, including: Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Cambodia. This regional report is a must-read, and can be found on pp. 8 – 14. Furthermore, check out the rest of the issue, which features a range of technical articles on topics including: shovels, excavators & draglines; storage & stockyards; screening, crushing, breaking & sizing; dewatering & filtration; trucks & tyres; and more! 1. 2. 3.

‘World’s coal producers now planning more than 400 new mines’, Reuters, (3 June 2021). ‘China to encourage qualified coal mines to expand production capacity’, Reuters, (30 July 2021). ‘World total coal production, 1971-2019 provisional’, IEA, (29 July 2020).




INDIA NTPC selects Carbon Clean and Green Power

The Minerals Council of Australia is continuing to build awareness of the work done by its member companies to make land available for other uses after mining ends with the launch of the next phase of its campaign on mine rehabilitation.

International to set up carbon capture plant

SOUTH AFRICA Eskom has announced that on 31 July 2021, Unit 1, the last of six generation units of the Medupi Power Station Project in Lephalale, attained commercial operation status and was thus handed over to the Generation division. This milestone marks the completion of all building activities on the four 764 MW project, which commenced in May 2007. The planned operational life of the station is 50 years.

AUSTRALIA Thiess has been awarded a contract extension by MACH Energy Australia to continue providing mining services at the Mount Pleasant Operation in the Hunter Valley, Australia. The contract will generate revenue of approximately AUS$920 million to Thiess over four and a half years. Since commencing operations as a greenfield mine in 2017, Thiess will continue to provide full-scope mining services including drill and blast, overburden removal, coal mining services and rehabilitation. Thiess has a strong presence in the Hunter Valley where it provides mining services at three mines. It works to deliver social benefits through local employment and training, local procurement, community engagement and Indigenous affairs. The contract extension will commence in April 2022.


arbon Clean, a leader in cost-effective carbon dioxide (CO2) capture and separation technology, has announced that it has been selected, along with Green Power International, an independent renewable energy developer, to design and build a carbon capture plant with NTPC. When operational, the plant will capture 20 tpd of CO2. NETRA, the R&D wing of NTPC, is setting up a CO2 to methanol demonstration plant at NTPC Vindhyachal, India. Carbon Clean’s technology will be used to capture 20 tpd of CO2. The carbon capture solution will be installed in the plant’s flue gas stack and capture CO2 as it is emitted from the coal-fired boiler. Carbon Clean will work closely with Green Power International Private Ltd, who won the contract from NTPC. Fossil fired power plants are considered bulk emitters of CO2, a primary greenhouse gas. NTPC, India’s largest power utility provider, has embarked on a path to capture CO2 from waste flue gas and convert it into valuable products such as liquid fuel, organic and inorganic chemicals, among others. NTPC is already engaged in various carbon capture and utilisation projects, implementing technology that not only captures carbon but converts it into a valuable resource. The latest project with Carbon Clean is an example of how NTPC is positively contributing to the circular carbon economy.

RUSSIA Coal seaport Shakhtersk increased shipments by 29% in 1H21


he coal seaport of Shakhtersk, a key logistics asset of the Eastern Mining Co., shipped 4.6 million t of coal in 1H21. Compared to the same period last year, the company’s cargo turnover increased by 29%. The growth was mainly due to the systematic work on expanding the fleet in previous periods, which in turn made it possible to strengthen the off-road coal shipment and increase its daily volume by 17%. In addition, the port carried out thorough preparations during the inter-navigation period, which made it possible to quickly start implementing the production plan from the beginning of navigation. It should be reminded that the capesize vessel with a tonnage of over 160 000 t, as well as a panamax-type vessel with a tonnage of 77 000 t, were the first to be loaded at the Shakhtersk Coal Seaport. The key consumers of coal mined at the Solntsevsky coal mine are the countries of the Asia-Pacific region, of which China ranks first. In 1H21, 3.4 million t of coal were shipped through the coal seaport of Shakhtersk to the largest country in Asia, which is 74% of the total. Also, in 1H21, there was a fivefold increase in coal shipments to India.



Mines and Money Online Connect


31 August – 02 September 2021 Online Event

NIPSCO Bailly Generating Facility in Indiana


MINExpo INTERNATIONAL 13 – 15 September 2021 Las Vegas, USA

Coaltrans Asia 2021 21 – 22 September 2021 Online Event

Experience POWER 18 – 21 October 2021 San Antonio, USA

International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) 25 – 27 October 2021 Online & Melbourne, Australia

China Coal & Mining Expo 2021 26 – 29 October 2021 Beijing, China

Mines and Money London 30 November – 02 December 2021 London, UK

POWERGEN International 26 – 28 January 2022 Dallas, USA To stay informed about the status of industry events and any potential postponements or cancellations of events due to COVID-19, visit World Coal’s events page:



USA EPA approves expanded clean-up plan for


he U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued the final cleanup plan for Area C of the NIPSCO Bailly Generating Facility in Chesterton, Indiana, to prevent coal ash contamination from affecting the nearby Indiana Dunes National Park. After extensive review and consideration of public comments on NIPSCO’s proposed plan, EPA expanded the clean-up to include the area known as Solid Waste Management Unit 14. The agency has also added a provision to establish a stakeholder group to continue public engagement on clean-up progress. In the 1960s and 1970s, NIPSCO used SWMU 15 to dispose of ash created from burning coal to generate electricity. Coal ash contains various hazardous metals. The primary contaminant of concern at this site is the metal boron.

INDONESIA Cokal makes progress towards mining at BBM


okal has provided an update on its BBM operation in Indonesia. The site has been selected for the jetty to load barges at Batu Tuhup, approximately 1.5 km from the temporary jetty site BBM has contracted to use for the first year. This site has more than 300 m frontages on the Barito River and at this location has more than 2.5 m water depth all year long. A preliminary layout has been completed to be detailed when the topography and bathymetry survey results are available. The barge loader will be capable of 1000 tph. A contractor has been engaged to undertake a LiDAR survey of topography and a second contractor to undertake a bathymetric survey, both to be carried out from the week beginning 16 August 2021, once the current COVID restrictions PPKM Level 4 is complete. The downriver ISP will be at Buntok. A LiDAR topographical survey of this site will be conducted as soon as the Batu Tuhup survey is completed. Progress on the road from 52 km into Pit 3 at BBM has progressed, with a number of bridges and culverts being constructed. Additional equipment has been mobilised to increase the rate of this progress. The remnants of old bridges are dismantled, any reusable logs recovered, and a new bridge constructed. Then the road is cleared to access the next bridge. Many of the old bridges failed because geofabric was not used to cover the logs before placing road construction fill over them. Some significant cuts have been excavated.


SOUTH AFRICA Buffalo Coal granted environmental authorisation


uffalo Coal Corp. has announced that the Republic of South Africa’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) granted an official Environmental Authorisation to Zinoju Coal Proprietary Ltd on 22 July 2021 for the Balgray project. The Environmental Authorisation was granted in terms of the environmental impact assessment (EIA) Regulations (GNR 326), promulgated under the

National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), 1998 (Act 107 of 1998). In accordance with Regulation 4(2)(b) of the EIA’s regulations, appeals may be lodged against the DMRE’s decision in terms of NEMA’s National Appeal Regulations (GNR. 993 of 8 December 2014, as amended) within 20 days from the date of notification of interested and affected parties.

UK World first artificial intelligence implementation by Coal Authority


eading industrial IT solutions partner and AVEVA distributor for UK and Ireland, SolutionsPT, together with Schneider Electric, a global leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, have announced what is believed to be a world first machine learning deployment, for the Coal Authority. The first implementation of AVEVA Guided Analytics, a feature of its AVEVA Insight software, is set to help automate data analytics for 75 pumps spread across 50 locations and enable multi-site predictive and preventive maintenance. The project, which will take advantage of the inbuilt machine learning capability of the Guided Analytics function, removes the need for a bespoke coding solution to compare asset performance against historic data and significantly reduces the time and expertise required to deploy a solution capable of offering insights to inform data-driven maintenance improvement. Operators from an operational technology or IT background can set machine-learning models in a few clicks, this immediately starts to compile historic data sets for comparison with live data for an accurate, real-time, review of anomalies and asset performance. With a user-friendly and customisable interface making it simple to identify assets and sensors, further parameters, such as performance over a set timeframe can be made available to operators without extensive training, reducing the cognitive workload of engineers and managers alike. Using a cloud-based asset library, users can leverage the machine learning capability to generate predictive

models, failure modes, fault diagnostics and remediation maintenance plans, and can even create condition-based alerts that inform priority maintenance scheduling. The system also ‘learns’ by inviting the specific user to give the information it provides a ‘thumbs up’ or a ‘thumbs down’ as to the usefulness of the information it offers. With different job roles using the data in different ways, the system is continuously learning which information to share with whom, and when. One such benefit for the Coal Authority deployment concerns an early warning of impending blockages. For instance, a pipe conveying water with a high calcium carbonate content is prone to a build-up of limescale, which is invisible to maintenance engineers from the outside. Such deposits can reduce pump efficiency and force the pump to work progressively harder to maintain flow rate. By observing this historic trend in the context of extensive operational data, the problem would be recognised by Guided Analytics, and the issue, which would have eventually resulted in unplanned downtime, can be resolved through timely preventive maintenance. Guided Analytics packages machine learning in a simple and easy-to-use way. The first live deployment with the Coal Authority is expected to show the potential of artificial intelligence within industrial and process setting, especially those with geographically dispersed locations. Analysis of real-time and historic data, along with rapidly deployable machine learning models, means Guided Analytics enables efficient operations whilst enabling preventive maintenance to avoid expensive downtime.



Sabrin Chowdhury, Fitch Solutions, Singapore, provides insight into the future of the coal industry in Southeast Asia and Australasia, and the potential challenges it could face.



oal will remain the dominant source of power for most of Southeast Asia and Australasia in the coming decade at least, which will support the mining of coal and coal trade in the region. This is mainly because coal remains the most practical means to stimulate affordable electricity generation growth at the pace and scale needed to support continued economic growth in the region. Nevertheless, stricter environmental standards in Asia will continue to hurt coal miners by increasing compliance costs and delaying project development. Reducing carbon footprints has gained significant impetus since 2020, with the shift to the low-carbon economy to have a significant impact on the regulatory frameworks of most major mining markets in Southeast Asia and Australasia, as governments commit to their Nationally Determined Contributions to the Paris Agreement. Asia Pacific governments will face considerable challenges on this front, where major mining countries, including Indonesia and Australia, will remain largely reliant on fossil fuels (primarily coal) for energy generation.

Indonesia and Australia to dominate regional thermal coal production in absolute terms Indonesia and Australia will continue to produce the bulk (approximately 85 – 90%) of total thermal coal output in Southeast Asia and Australia. These countries will also continue to account for approximately 12% of global coal production in the coming decade. The outlook for thermal coal production in Indonesia and Australia is bolstered by government support, domestic needs, and a strong demand from coal-fired power plants in the region. However, while absolute production levels will remain elevated over the coming decade at least, production growth will slow in the long term due to weak coal prices and rising environmental regulations.

Australia With regard to Australia, the coal industry will experience limited production growth over the long term, as prices stabilise and environmental regulations heighten, along with increasing competition from lower-cost foreign producers. Coal production growth in Australia is set to average 0.05 % y/y during 2021 – 2030, with output increasing minimally from 297 million t in 2021 to 298 million t in 2030. As investors become wary of climate change issues and global energy consumption patterns shift away from coal, established players will increasingly leave the high-cost Australian coal market, while smaller players enter. Anglo American, Peabody Energy, and Vale have all started liquidating their Australian coal portfolios, with Rio Tinto having completely exited the coal market altogether. In place of these established players, smaller, lesser known players, mostly private equity, have entered the market, some of whom have no prior mining experience. Nevertheless, in the next 1 –3 years, Australia’s annual thermal coal output will rise due to increasing production at MACH Energy’s Mount Pleasant mine (10 million tpy), and Sojitz and U&D Coal’s Orion Downs mine (1.5 million tpy).

The ramp-up at Whitehaven Coal’s Vickery mine, which started in 2019, will take approximately six years to reach its annual rated capacity of 8 million tpy. The Carmichael Project is also expected to produce 8 – 10 million tpy of thermal coal and cost US$1.4 billion during its initial phase. Environmental issues and protectionism will continue to pressurise Australia’s coal sector in the coming years. As a case in point, though the Queensland government has approved Adani Group’s Carmichael coal, rail, and port projects, the group has had to fund 100% of the project, as announced in November 2018. In November 2020, the group rebranded its Australian unit as Bravus Mining and Resources. Banking giants, HSBC and Deutsche Bank, as well as European banks such as BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Société Générale, refused to bankroll the expansion due to intense lobbying by environmental activists. Australia will be at risk of a sudden tightening of environmental regulations, placing in limbo numerous new coal mining projects in the pipeline. As per Fitch Solutions’ Global Mines Database, 79 of the 176 new coal projects globally are situated in Australia, although not all of them will reach fruition going forward.

Indonesia As for Indonesia, the country will remain the largest coal producer in absolute terms in Southeast Asia in the coming decade at least, although production growth will slow in the coming years. Coal production growth in Indonesia will average 0.48 % y/y during 2021 – 2030, with output increasing from 468 million t in 2021 to 487 million t in 2030. Coal will remain a key fuel of choice for Indonesia’s power expansion, and a key generation source over the coming decade as coal supply remains abundant and cheaper in the market, alongside a government commitment to the source, specifically designed to protect its coal mining industry. The relatively low cost of the feedstock means that coal will remain the fuel of choice to meet surging power demand in the country. The government aims to boost domestic coal demand and support coal prices, as it expects lower demand internationally with more markets moving towards cleaner generation sources. Coal power generation accounted for approximately 60.7% of Indonesia’s power mix in 2020, and this figure should rise to 65.0% by 2030. Dynamics in Indonesia will reduce coal supply on the international market and provide some support to prices. The combination of slower coal production growth and strong domestic demand growth will cap the country’s exportable surplus over the coming years. Weak export growth will be compounded by the government erecting barriers to coal exports, in order to ensure adequate supply for domestic power plants. The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry fixed coal’s Domestic Market Obligation for 2020 at 25% mining production reserved for domestic use. In the long term, coal output growth will continue to slow, in line with lower coal prices, poor transportation networks and stringent regulations that will increase costs for miners. PT Bumi Resources Tbk is the largest coal


miner in Indonesia, while PT Indo Tambangraya Megah Tbk specialises in the production of premium-grade coal for the global energy market.

Vietnam’s coal production to rise steadily Vietnam’s coal mining sector will outperform in the coming decade in comparison with other countries in

Figure 1. Australia is at the greatest risk of project cancellation.

Figure 2. There will be a steady, albeit slow, decline for coal.

Southeast Asia (excluding Indonesia). Coal production growth in Vietnam will average 1.02% y/y during 2021 – 2030, with output increasing from 39 million t in 2021 to 42 million t in 2030. The resource industry in Vietnam is largely state-led and heavily regulated by the government. State-owned miner, Vinacomin, is the largest coal producer in the country at present. It accounts for 95% of domestic coal production and has a production capacity of around 40 – 45 million tpy. The bulk of its coal reserves are located in the northern area of Quang Ninh province and the Red River Delta Basin. The country is rapidly developing new coal-fired power plants, which will bode well for the coal mining sector. In July 2017, the government tasked the Ministry of Industry and Trade with developing a roadmap for the coal mining sector to ensure sustainable supplies and a more competitive marketplace. Official forecasts put coal consumption at 100 million tpy by 2030. Nevertheless, the mining sector will continue to be dampened by decreasing coal prices in the long term, higher natural resources tax (which has been implemented since July 2016), as well as higher production costs due to the depletion of coal layers, which are easier to access. In fact, traditionally an exporter, Vietnam turned into a net importer of coal in 2016.

Low coal usage in power mix to dampen future prospects for coal mining in Thailand and Myanmar

Figure 3. Australia and Indonesia are expected to dominate absolute production.



Thailand and Myanmar will continue to incorporate the least amount of coal in their power mix compared with other countries in Asia in the coming decade. Thailand’s coal-fired power as a percentage of total electricity generation from all sources will amount to only 16 – 17%, while Myanmar’s

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figure will remain within 6 – 8% during 2021 – 2030. This is compared with 30 – 60% of the power mix for the rest of Southeast Asia and Australiasia. These limited power mix shares will be the main factor causing coal mining sectors in both countries to remain small in the coming years.

Thailand The outlook for Thailand’s coal mining industry is far from positive. Coal production growth in Thailand will average 1.1% y/y during 2021 – 2030, with output increasing minimally from 24 million t in 2021 to 25 million t in 2030. Depleting domestic coal reserves will see Thailand increasing imports of coal to fuel its reliance on the material for power generation, instead of relying on domestic production. Due to coal being the most cost-effective fuel source, it will still account for a substantial portion of power generation over the coming years. However, public distrust towards coal-fired power generation over environmental and health issues will continue to rise, limiting investment in coal mining. Currently, the majority of the electricity generated in Thailand comes from gas. Thailand’s latest Power Development Plan (PDP 2018 – 2037), which was approved by the Cabinet in April 2019, sets out power capacity expansion targets of reaching 77 GW and outlines a shift in power mix targets amid efforts to diversify away from gas. While the country will look to reduce its dependence on gas-power generation from an estimated 65.4% in 2018 to 53% by 2037, new sources of power will predominantly come from non-fossil sources (35% of the power mix) and only to a lesser extent from coal (12%).

as international firms seek to leave the market. For now, mining operations are running smoothly, although firms will increasingly exit the market as international pressures rise. Currently, most coal mining in Myanmar is done in Shan State, with Eden Group operating the largest coal mine in Tigyit with a capacity of 828 000 tpy. Ngwe Yee Pearl Company and the Tatmadaw also have a 25-year coal mining deal in Hsipaw, Tang Yan and Mong Tai townships in Shan State. Additionally, Min Shwe Hlwar Company has also operated coal mines 500 km off of the Nam Ma and Nar Nang villages since early 2019. However, most coal mines in Shan State are located underground, beneath residential homes and there is significant social backlash as blasts create noise pollution and waste that flows into the Nam Pang River, contaminating the largest tributary of the Than Lwin River. According to a 2008 law, the central government has the sole authority to mine natural resources, granting coal mining permits to entrepreneurs without the consent of locals. Outside of Shan State, Tun Thwin Mining Co. Ltd and No. 1 Mining Enterprise operate the Paluzawa coal mine in Kalewa, Sagang Region. With strong public opposition, the outlook for the coal mining sector in Myanmar remains bleak.

Philippines to continue relying on coal

Coal mining will come under significant pressure in the Philippines in the coming years as the Philippine government has declared a moratorium on coal power projects in October 2020 and will no longer approve Myanmar the construction of any new coal power plants. The Myanmar’s electricity also comes mainly from gas, government has stressed though that coal will remain with coal mining to remain limited in the long term. the dominant power generation source for years to come, Coal production growth in Myanmar will average with several projects in the pipeline that were already 8.9% y/y during 2021 – 2030, with output increasing from approved prior to the announcement. Coal projects with 2.5 million t in 2021 to 4.7 million t in 2030. Additionally, environmental compliance certificates and permits from with the political upheaval in Myanmar since the local governments will also be excluded from the ban. February 2021 coup on the government by the Tatmadaw Coal production growth in the Philippines will stagnate (Myanmar military) expected to last for many years, during 2021 – 2030, with output remaining around investment in the mining sector will see a sharp decline 14 million t throughout the period. In recent years, coal mining and coal-fired power projects have been facing very strong and increasing public opposition, including the involvement of several religious associations who signed a manifesto to advance the coal divestment movement and to disallow investments into new ‘dirty’ assets. In May 2020, more than 42 faith-based institutions, including Catholic churches, announced that they were divesting US$1.4 billion from fossil fuels. This follows after Figure 4. Mining production growth is expected to be slow across the board in Southeast Asia the launch of Church-CSO and Australasia.



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Empowerment for Environmental Sustainability (ECO-CONVERGENCE), through which various church leaders and civil society groups have jointly urged domestic banks to stop funding new coal-fired power projects. In September 2019, more than 50 civil society groups and people’s organisations participated in a nationwide protest, urging President Rodrigo Duterte to impose a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants. Several key utilities in the Philippines, such as AC Energy and MERALCO, have also signalled intentions to shift away from coal in recent months. Nonetheless, as coal remains the cheaper and more reliable option to meet with the country’s power demand surge, particularly as resources in the Malampaya gas field deplete with limited scope for exploration success and infrastructural headwinds to LNG import capacity, the Philippines’ power mix will remain dominated by coal over the coming decade. The share of coal will increase from an estimated 50.8% in 2020 to 59.3% by 2030, with some downside risks. Semirara Mining Corp. (SMC) is the biggest coal producer in the Philippines and operates the only opencast coal mine in the country. The miner was given exclusive rights by the Department of Energy to mine coal and conduct operations in Semirara. However, various challenges have emerged in the form of a new excise tax introduced by congress in December 2017 as part of the new tax reform programme, in addition to local opposition to SMC’s coal expansion project in the region due to concerns over water pollution. While rising environmental concerns will continue to hinder mine development, the Philippines’ dependence on coal in the long term will keep SMC’s outlook positive.

Malaysia and Cambodia to remain reliant on coal imports Malaysia and Cambodia will see coal’s share in the power mix to rise steadily over the coming decade at least, but both countries will mainly rely on imported coal rather than domestically mined coal. Both Malaysia and Cambodia rely on coal imported from Indonesia at present, and there will be little change in this dynamic.

Figure 5. Asia will dominate the global production of coal.



Malaysia Malaysia has a very small coal mining sector, located in the state of Sarawak. Malaysia’s coal production will continue to stagnate at 2.6 million t in the foreseeable future. Despite the prevalence of gas in the power mix, the Malaysian government is hoping to diversify its primary energy sources so that rising power demand can be met and without having to rely too heavily on dwindling domestic gas supplies. Hence, the government is keen to expand both coal-fired power generation and power generation from renewable energy sources. However, environmental opposition to coal is rising, with Malaysia’s CIMB announcing detailed plans to end coal financing by 2040, making it one of the banks in the region with the strongest climate policy at present. This follows after major banks in the region have signalled intentions to start moving away from financing coal. This being the case, Malaysia’s Maybank and RHB Bank still appear committed to financing coal projects around the region, despite their new environmental, social, and governance policies.

Cambodia Cambodia does not produce any coal, and this will remain the case in the longer term. In Cambodia, the lack of sound infrastructure continues to be a major hurdle for miners particularly for the development of bulk commodities such as coal. Similar to other countries in the region, there is also significant social and environmental opposition to coal mining in Cambodia. Additionally, foreign investors are also not allowed to own land under Cambodia’s Constitution, and are only able to lease the land for a period of up to 70 years with the option to renew thereafter. However, the country’s investment law allows foreign companies to own 100% of their mining investment, in addition to the fact that foreign-owned assets will not be nationalised.

Conclusion Overall, Southeast Asia and Australiasia will remain highly dependent on coal for power generation in the coming decade at least, even as the rest of the world reduces reliance on fossil fuels, which will in turn support the coal mining sector and coal trade in the region. In absolute terms, Indonesia and Australia will be the leaders of coal production, along with a high percentage of coal-fired power in the countries’ power mix. Vietnam’s coal production will outperform regional players, after Indonesia and Australia, while Thailand and Myanmar will remain laggards in the coal mining sphere. Malaysia and Cambodia will continue relying on coal imports, with muted growth for domestic coal mining.

Richard Spaargaren, ESI Eurosilo, the Netherlands, outlines how fully enclosed coal storage enables future-proof and more sustainable performance of today’s coal fired power plants.


ith an abundance of space at power plants built over 40 years ago, the handling and storage of coal was not considered a critical factor. Therefore, when ESI applied fully enclosed storage, originally designed for agri-bulk in the Netherlands, to large scale storage facilities for coal in the early 1980s, it was a revolutionary idea at the time. The early adapters of this system were looking for premium alternatives with high added value, such as the Salmisaari Power Plant in Helsinki, where the complete coal storage moved underground in four connected Eurosilos. Fast forward to 2021, and the world has changed dramatically. Although open stockyards as legacy systems are still common practice, the recent developments show a tipping point towards enclosed storage.


More pressing considerations The main criteria in deciding on silo storage has not really changed since the introduction of the Eurosilo. However, the ever-increasing need for power, due to economic growth, together with an increased and denser world population, have made these considerations more pressing than before.

Space and capacity considerations Particularly for restricted areas, the volume-to-area storage factor is of major importance. Silos are the most compact form compared to covered storage piles, whether circular or rectangular. The same volume can be stored at a third of the required land space for stockyards.

Environmental considerations

Figure 1. Silo roof construction of Hunutlu plant.

Dust emission, water percolation, and ground pollution have become decisive factors in obtaining permits. With renewables still not in reach in terms of capacity and cost per KW/h, the most viable third way is clean and environmentally safe operation of sophisticated coal fired power plants.

Safety and fire considerations Silo storage minimises the intrusion of oxygen in the stored coal. Carbon monoxide-detection systems can detect self-heating spots immediately so that effective measures can be taken. The enclosed configuration makes it possible to purge nitrogen into the stored mass, which makes combustion impossible.

High degree of automation Highly automated filling and reclaim systems reduce labour and health hazards, as well as the need for cranes and shovels. Automated material handling also enables coal blending by reclaiming different grades of coal from different silos and mixing it to an optimal blend.

System operation in detail Figure 2. Preparing the slewing bride for the lift at Hunutlu Power Plant.

Figure 3. Eight coal silos at Sin Seocheon Power Plant in South Korea.



The Eurosilo system consists of a slip-formed silo shell, with a 30 – 50 m dia., and a storage height of 30 – 50 m. The silo is mounted on a concrete foundation, including a concrete reclaim tunnel, and is covered by a steel roof that supports the infeed conveyor, which discharges the coal into the silo. In case of a multiple silo system, the coal can be transferred to an adjacent silo by installing a two-way diverting gate. The coal enters the Eurosilo via a telescopic chute, mounted at the centre of the upper slewing bridge. This slewing bridge is supported by a ridge mounted crane track. The slewing bridge also contains electrical equipment, a slip-ring assembly with electrical and air connection, slewing drive wheel assemblies, and the winches that support and operate the distribution frame. A distribution frame is suspended from the slewing bridge by steel cables and contains the main twin screw system and the lower section of the telescopic chute. The coal is discharged via the infeed conveyor into the telescopic chute and reaches the distribution frame on

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the coal surface. In stacking mode, the twin screw system distributes the coal evenly over the area of the silo. After each rotation, the distribution frame is raised by the winches, so the silo is filled layer by layer. The reclaiming capacity may vary up to 1500 tph. To ensure an uninterrupted output to the day bunkers, each silo has two vibrating reclaimers. Electrically powered counterweights provide the necessary force to induce gravity flow in the centre and to discharge the coal onto the reclaiming conveyors. By withdrawing the coal from the bottom of the silo, a core flow is established. At this point, the distribution frame’s conveyor screws reverse their rotation, directing the coal to the centre of the silo and continuously feeding the formed core. The upper slewing bridge also rotates in the reverse direction, and after each complete revolution the distribution frame is lowered.

Dynamic coal blending Dynamic coal blending is a fuel handling approach whereby the coal quality can be continuously changed – within acceptable limits – in order to meet changing needs in real time. The Fuel Management System (FMS) helps to prepare the right blends at the right time. The FMS software visualises the different grades of coal in

different silos and enables the operators to plan the coal blending in the optimal way. The boiler specifications and the coal characteristics are the input data for the FMS solution as well as real-time storage levels. The difference with conventional one blend for all conditions can save €1 – €3 million/yr at a 1000 MW power plant.

Lowest TCO, short payback period In order to have an accurate assessment of costs and savings, the total cost of ownership (TCO) over the total life span for different storage methods needs to be examined. Due to its enclosed storage concept and highly automated operation, the Eurosilo system combines a higher CAPEX than conventional stockyard storage, with a much lower OPEX. Dust emissions are eliminated, which can lead to coal savings of several percent. If 2.5% of the coal is blown away, this can easily result in 25 000 tpy for an average 600 MW power station. In order to prevent this, enormous amounts of spraying water are used, which have to be evaporated later on. This decreases the calorific value of the coal mass in the same way as heavy rainfall. On top of that, the cost savings on operational staff and bulk handling material, together with use of optimal coal blends, result in a payback period of just 4 – 5 years. Given a life span of 25 years, it all amounts to the lowest TCO.

Case studies The global concern for a sustainable future has become more evident than ever. This leads to a demand for innovative technologies that enhance performance and minimise pollution, while being economically viable at the same time.

Turkey This is why the EMBA Hunutlu Thermal Power Plant in Turkey chose to work with three 100 000 m3 Eurosilos. The Hunutlu Power Plant is located in a precious nature reserve and therefore complies with the highest environmental requirements, taking up as little land space as possible. Figure 4. Erection of the coal silo equipment at Sin Seocheon Power Plant.

South Korea In South Korea, at the new thermal power plant in Shin SeoCheon, ESI is in the process of building and commissioning no less than eight coal silos.

China Finally, the Shidonkou First Power Plant in Shanghai ordered two 100 000 m3 coal silos to be built at its existing plant site. With this order, the China Huaneng Group has initiated its shift from open and shed storage to environmentally friendly enclosed coal storage.

Conclusion Figure 5. Silo erection Shi Dong Kou Power Plant (October 2020).



When considering the feasibility of a coal silo project an integral estimate of investment, the operating and maintenance costs should be formulated, including costs and savings with regard to environmental protection.

G ALLU Finland describes how a single piece of equipment can incorporate the several steps involved in the mining process.

ame-changing technology seems a rarity in the mining industry. It may have moved on from picks and shovels, and opencast mining has been transformed by the use of sophisticated crushing and screening equipment, but mining can still be a relatively labour-intensive undertaking, with advantages accruing to operators in parts of the world where such costs are low. Much of the equipment required can also be expensive. There are quite a few steps involved in the mining process: blasting of the rock, digging, loading the product onto dump trucks, and transporting it to a location where the material


can be crushed and screened. Sometimes, more than one crushing and screening step will be needed to produce a material ready for shipping. The possibility that several of these steps might be incorporated in a single piece of equipment seems to have inspired the development of ALLU’s M-series giant crushing bucket. Applicable as a crusher to the full range of soft rock materials – such as oil shale, coal, rock salt, limestone, and gypsum – and as a screener for all materialsm, it performs material processing and loading in a single step.

When the package is mounted onto a 50 – 100 t wheel loader or 60 – 200 t excavator, it turns the vehicle into a mobile processing plant, eliminating much of the requirement for faster transportation between sites. There is also no need for on-site electrics. The M series buckets can be adjusted to accommodate different sizes of material (typically from 50 – 150 mm) and different crushing forces, and so can be configured to handle any kind of soft rock. The company sees a potentially transformative role with respect to a mineral resource. A typical feedstock might include boulders of up to 500 mm dia. (700 mm 10%), which can be crushed down to 75 mm by the M series bucket for loading directly into dump trucks. Any waste hard rock that is found in the run-of-mine (ROM) is also removed in one simple step – or the majority of it, at least – at source, increasing the quality and the volume of material that can be loaded into the dump truck and improving yields. A similar principle can also be applied in many screening or crushing applications. The ALLU hydraulic attachment can process feedstock down to 50 mm at the source, removing waste material in one simple step, simultaneously, and in such a way that reduces double handling of material, as well as cost. The company has been developing its screening bucket technology for over 30 years, and nowadays, it can be applied Figure 1. ALLU Transformer M-series processing coal. to everything from screening municipal waste to detonating anti-personnel mines. Table 1. Cost savings – equipment Technology such as this can be used to Equipment in operation Before After overcome the cost advantages enjoyed by operators in other parts of the world. Processing buckets Three buckets One ALLU Margins in coal mining are extremely Excavators Two units One unit tight, so if there is the possibility of reducing the cost of production by a few tens of pence Back-up buckets One bucket Zero buckets per tonne, the potential of the product Running costs Two units One unit seems obvious. The company has also designed a Service cost Three units One unit smaller version of the M bucket to meet its Zero (equipment Stand-by service customer’s needs and requirements. The One maintenance personnel M3-36 has been designed for agility and outsourced) work speed for the customers’ requirements, Once every Bucket service interval Daily giving them a one-step requirement. two months The M3-36 is currently being tested with customers and should be available to the Table 2. Cost savings – material and conditions wider market soon. Material and conditions Before After


Material mix (slurry/high grade) (%)



Case study

Received coal slurry



Wet weather conditions



A coal power plant that requires a minimum fuel production of approximately 20 000 tpm got in touch with ALLU regarding the company’s M-series attachment.


Challenges The plant had experienced many challenges in the past which had affected fuel production, including: Wet weather conditions, which created sticky material, making it a challenging material to process with small volume buckets. Wet, sticky, low cost coal slurry needed to be mixed and crushed with imported high-grade coal. This possible one third material mix ratio was not optimal for maximum cost efficiency. In the past, a minimum of three-piece standard processing buckets and three-piece excavators were needed. Therefore, a high priority electricity production source that operated 24/7 was required that had a high capacity and continuous fuel flow, so as to help with running costs. Standard processing bucket construction and design did not meet the requirements of equipment durability and service costs.

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Solution ALLU suggested using ALLU Transformer M screening buckets for compact base machines. These are also suitable for excavators (maximum 160 t), loaders (90 t), tractors, and backhoe loaders. The M-series makes for a good attachment for soft rock crushing and mining processes. The attachment reduces the need for buffer storage areas and material transportation. In addition, investment costs are lower than that of stationary processing stations, due to easy and fast transportation from one site to another and the elimination of the need of electrics. The implementation of the M-series resulted in the following: The big volume bucket and large drum means it is easier to process wet and sticky coal and cope with the wet weather conditions. The high performance makes for a more cost-effective 1:1 fuel mix possible. There is a need for only one unit to achieve the needed capacity, resulting in very low running costs. The equipment is highly durable and has very low service costs.

Conclusion Whether it is a small mining operation, a contractor working in several mining operations or a large opencast mine, crushing and screening methods using the loader or excavator as the primary or secondary processing machine (such as that from ALLU) can help reduce costs and boosts efficiency. End users such as power plants, storage areas, harbours, and classification sites can also use and benefit from this method.




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Paul Badeau, Applied Fiber, USA, explains why fibre pendants are being adopted by dragline and shovel operators.


he adoption of new technologies is often a long and sometimes difficult road, but fibre pendants are now being seen as a proven technology with a long list of demonstrated benefits.

Synthetic fibre main support pendants Synthetic fibre main support pendants were first considered for development over 12 years ago. At the time, it was recognised that a reduction in weight aloft could greatly improve dragline performance as it would allow for increased capacity or reduce the working load of the machine. As mine operators are always looking for improvements, these two benefits alone were a strong catalyst to move forward and build the first synthetic main pendants for a dragline.

first set of mains at the Antelope mine in Wyoming over five years ago. While the pendants were originally developed to take advantage of the weight reduction fibre would provide by increasing production capacity, numerous benefits have been noted beyond the production gains. Fibre is multiple times lighter than steel and has reduced sag weight, and this combined with fibre’s natural damping properties has proven to be a huge benefit as the pendants no longer bounce or ‘jump rope’ like steel does. Formerly, the constant jumping of a large mass of steel also caused the lattice boom to

Case study: Antelope Mine, USA The product was first adopted by Cloud Peak Energy, now NTEC. Applied Fiber designed, built, and successfully installed the

Figure 1. Bridon Tiger Blue pendant/boom tip 8050 dragline.


also bounce around, creating all kinds of stresses in the dragline boom structure and throughout the machine. Cyclic fatigue is one of the key contributors to metal cracking and fatigue of the structural components. The first set of fibre mains were installed and a change was immediately noted. The bounce and jump rope effect were nearly eliminated with the fibre pendants, and the boom movements were quietened dramatically. This has had a substantial reduction of fatigue and stress on the structural components. The difference between steel and fibre can not only be seen at a distance, but felt by operators – many of whom have reported significantly reduced movement and vibration in their cab. Over time, it became evident that the machine was seeing less vibration and cyclic fatigue damage. Draglines converted to fibre were no longer seeing any fatigue cracks or cracking in the boom. A scheduled maintenance outage to weld the boom lacing was eliminated as the fatigue had been so greatly reduced. In time, it was also noted that maintenance crews were not going out and performing welding on the catwalks, railings and steps on the machine, a constant and accepted maintenance issue at most mines.

NTEC calculated a conservative week’s worth of added dragline productivity per year, as it was now possible to skip the outage planned for lacing welding – previously a normal occurrence and scheduled part of the maintenance plan. Furthermore, the company has had no major welding repairs in the lacing since installation. This benefit alone was enough to make the change, and no one had even considered this benefit when they were first installed. In light of the success of this initial trial, all NTEC draglines ready for changeout have since been converted to fibre.

Industry leadership adoption: The new standard Following years of evaluation, a company with the largest dragline fleet in the world is making fibre main pendants the go-forward standard product for its fleet. The company has installed Applied Fiber main and IBS pendants (Figure 2) on both Marion and Bucyrus draglines, and are already seeing first-hand the benefits for production and maintenance, with the dragline ‘quietened’ down significantly (Figure 3). Numerous mining machine operating companies are now looking to adopt this technology for their draglines, as the evidence continues to grow in support of large financial gains with fibre pendants. Fibre main and IBS pendants are now also standardly available through industry wire pendant leader, Bridon Bekaert Ropes Group’s Bridon Tiger Blue fibre product line (Figure 1).

The next realised benefits

Figure 2. Applied Fiber main and IBS pendants at Tri Structure.

Figure 3. Fibre pendants running on a Marion 8050 dragline.



More recently through extended data, it has become clear that fibre will not only reduce annual downtime and welding cost, but additionally may have a material impact on the fatigue life of the boom structure and pendant changeout cycle. This means that the boom is not only anticipated to last longer, but if combined with other activities, it is seen as very possible to push out the outage for a boom laydown event. In some cases where other components in the system have been optimised, it is envisioned that a full pendant replacement outage may be skipped. The ability to materially shift pendant changeouts is based on the added advantage of fibre pendant life. One of Applied Fiber’s goals in developing the fibre pendants with extended life was based around the development of a monitoring system to continuously gauge the life of the pendants. Fibre pendants last longer than their steel counterparts because they have better fatigue properties than steel strand, and, when coupled with a reliable health management

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system, pendants can be designed to run longer without introducing new risk. Longer pendant life, coupled with this health management capability, allows a mine to safely push out the planned boom laydown to replace the steel pendants. This is a huge production benefit and creates financial savings for the mine. While clients first saw the fibre as a means to either increase capacity or reduce welding downtime on an ageing fleet of dragline booms, it has now become clear that there is also the distinct potential to further extend the life of the machines and defer boom laydown events. This opens the door for yet another wave of financial gains for the operating companies. While there are many benefits, some of the company’s clients are realising this may be the greatest financial benefit in adopting fibre. The maintenance benefits, combined with the production benefits, make it clear that there are many substantial financial gains that come with switching from steel to fibre – despite the difference in cost. Putting a damper in the load path makes the dragline runs better (Figure 4). The innovation has proven out: dragline operators have increased production capacity;

Figure 4. Dragline operating is smoother with fibre main pendants.

reduced machine stress, fatigue, and structural cracking; reduced maintenance; increased uptime; and extended the life of major components, including the product that was replaced. Additionally, nearly all the dragline operators that have trialed the fibre pendants appreciate and comment on the lack of machine vibration.

Boom jacking on rope shovels It soon became clear that the product weight and damping benefits would also translate well for shovels. Applied Fiber recognised that electric rope shovels and their pendants were in many cases replaced more frequently than dragline pendants, primarily because of the frequent shock loading from ‘boom jacking’. Boom jacking is one of the more violent events that a rope shovel can experience in operation. It occurs when the pendants supporting the boom go slack because of the boom being driven upward by the dipper. When the shovel reengages, the boom drops freely, slamming downward and severely shock-loading the pendant cables and the system overall. While mines always work and train to avoid boom jacking, it is an inevitable part of a rope shovel’s operation, and its effects are quite damaging to the machine over time. Applied Fiber modified the rope and termination design to create a shock damping pendant set to reduce the impact of boom jacking and vibration for electric rope shovels (Figure 5). Installed and running for a few years now, the product is proving itself – machines run smoother and the effects of boom jacking are greatly decreased, reducing peak loads from boom jacking up to 52%. Vibration in the machine is also greatly reduced. Laboratory testing has shown that fibre dampens vibration up to 12 times more than steel. Vibration is a large cause of maintenance issues on shovels. The operators notice the difference too. They can feel the reduction in vibration, which can cause hand and body fatigue over the course of long shifts working the equipment.


Figure 5. Shock damping fibre pendants installed on P&H 4100 C Electric Rope Shovel.



Fibre helps machines run smoother and more efficiently, and is well suited for the hard material digging and rough conditions in coal, gold or copper mines, in both hot temperatures in desert environments and frigid conditions of the oil sands and the arctic. Mines worldwide are using pendants and fibre ropes, such as those offered by Applied Fiber, for more and more critical applications. The high strength fibres handle fatigue, reduce vibration and are safer and easier to handle, providing numerous benefits to equipment and their operators.

Caleb Tidball, Cardinal Scale, USA, discusses whether analogue or digital trucks scales should be used in coal mining production.


oal mining is a critical part of meeting the world’s energy demands. The coal industry requires a great deal from its truck scales: accuracy, longevity, and the ability to operate consistently for long periods of time without breaking down. Meeting increasing energy demands requires high performance from equipment used to weigh coal. Therefore, researching the variations of truck scale types and their respective attributes is an important process, and the differrent advantages of analogue and digital truck scale systems should be considered.

Analogue truck scales Analogue truck scales are the most common type of truck scale available on the market. This type of truck scale combines electrical signals from

individual analogue strain gauge load cells and sums them in a junction box. These combined signals are then fed from the junction box into an indicator and converted into a digital value displayed for the customer to view. Analogue load cells come in many variations, but the two most common types used in truck scales are the compression load cell and the shear beam load cell. A truck scale system employing analogue load cells has some distinct advantages. Analogue load cells are inexpensive, have been on the market for a relatively long period, and have a fairly wide range of weight capacities. However, analogue load cells have many drawbacks. Because of their construction and electrical characteristics, they are especially sensitive to lightning damage. When a 70 ft long piece of


steel (i.e. a truck scale platform used for weighing coal) is placed in an area outside, it becomes a lightning rod that is very susceptible to lightning strikes. Suppression circuitry is added to the overall wiring to divert extreme lightning current from

the strain gauges. However, this does not prevent load cells from being destroyed by lightning, which then require replacement by a trained scale service technician.

Digital truck scales

Figure 1. Digital truck scale designs provide a higher level of protection than analogue load cell types in brutal, unforgiving environments.

Figure 2. Weighbridge designs that place load cells up near the top of the scale deck provide maximum protection against sediment and moisture build-up at the foundation, which can affect load cell performance.

In a digital truck scale system, the load cells perform the analogue-to-digital signal conversion themselves, and produce a native digital output signal. This important distinction precludes signal degradation associated with analogue cells. Digital load cell systems are also much easier to manage, due to the lack of a junction box and its associated wiring requirements. This decreases the installation time needed for scale service technician wiring – digital load cells can be simply linked to one another in a daisy chain. Sense leads are eliminated since variations in system voltage will not impact the load cell. Digital truck scale systems, because of their simple design, are very easy to install, maintain, and repair. Since the load cells are more reliable and accurate, costs associated with diagnosis are decreased. Digital truck scale systems have the capability of detecting and diagnosing faults and failures more quickly, efficiently, and precisely. To help augment this valuable tool, this information can be sent to not only indicators, but to remote locations via a software link. Digital load cells also offer the highest protection against lightning strikes, due to the transient suppression circuitry that is located directly on each individual digital load cell. Increasing the value and longevity of their businesses are two of the most important aspects coal mine owners and managers should consider. Since mining vehicles tend to be much larger than standard commercial transportation vehicles, there are problems that are compounded when weighing minerals during transport. Overloading and offset loading are going to do much more damage to trucks and scales. Truck scales are more likely to break down due to larger cargo sizes, offset loading and overloading, and repeated heavy usage incurred during their lifespan when used in a coal mining operation.

Analogue vs digital Efficiency and operating costs

Figure 3. Steel decks with tighter I-beam concentrations welded side by side in close proximity are engineered to withstand repetitive, heavy truckload weighing more so than steel deck designs that space I-beams further apart.



Two other important points coal mine owners should consider are increasing efficiency and lowering operating costs. Truck scales specifically built for mining operations will provide a hedge against all of the aforementioned difficulties while saving money in multiple facets of a business. Using a tool like a truck scale can increase profit margins by maximising payload, protecting return on investment for transportation vehicles, helping businesses better manage fuel consumption,

lowering operating costs, and cutting costs related I-beams provide a more robust structure that is less to vehicle maintenance. susceptible to overloading and offset loading that Due to the enormity of most mining vehicles, the is common in coal mining transportation. Truck truck scales that would be most appropriate for such scales should also provide I-beam protection that an application would possess a high concentrated runs the full length of the deck: the ends of the truck load capacity (CLC) rating, have a high maximum scale weighbridge that house load cells might have capacity, and generally have a wider deck to a pocket with no reinforcement, which increases accommodate heavy-duty off-road vehicles. Scales the probability of weighbridge damage and an that possess a tighter I-beam spacing configuration inoperable scale. under the scale deck will be more suited to Environment repetitive, heavy loading from large transportation Regarding the environment, it is important to trucks. Structurally, the scale deck will have to be know what limitations are going to be in store for thicker than that of a standard truck scale and have the truck scale in a given application. Sediment load cells that are also rated for a large capacity. and filth are pretty much a given in a coal mining Digital load cells are a good option considering environment, but there are other factors that are the surroundings and environment that usually just as damaging. Temperatures, either extreme accompany a mining operation. In addition, digital hot or cold, can present unique challenges for truck load cells can afford mine owners, or their scale scales and hardware peripheral equipment. Once service company, the luxury of remotely monitoring again, analogue systems present more challenges scale performance and receiving real-time load due to wiring expanding and contracting, being information. All of these factors provide fail-safes exposed to moisture, and having more wiring against potential problems that will cost coal mine owners time, money, and valuable resources. Downtime due to load cell and scale deck failures can be very costly and should be seriously considered before YOUR MINING MACHINE DESERVES THE BEST CHAINS deciding what type of truck C i n c i n n a ti Mine Machinery Company designed and installed the first Dual Sprocket scale will be used for an C o n v e y o r Chain. Our unique design utilizes superior metals and a proprietary heat operation. Analogue load cells treatment process for unparalleled strength. Our Dual Sprocket Conveyor Chain have the most potential for runs longer and stronger which means less downtime and lower cost per ton. So error due to the vast amount when it's time to choose, choose the strongest chain under the earth. For over 90 of wiring and junction boxes, y e a r s , C i n c i n n a t i M i n e M a c h i n e r y c o n t i n u e s t o b e T H E S T R O N G E S T L INK. and the diagnosis process can vary wildly depending on these factors. They also will be most-susceptible to moisture, fluctuations in weather, and sediment and grime that can get into the wiring and entrances of analogue wiring systems. Digital truck scale systems either mostly or completely eliminate wiring issues that cause expensive downtime and long diagnostic times that can last for days. Truck scales that feature thinner decks and fewer I-beams under the scale deck are a recipe for potential deck damage. Once a deck has been damaged due to low spots in the scale deck, known simply as ‘dimpling’, the deck is exceedingly difficult and costly to repair, if it can be salvaged at all. Thicker truck scale decks and more closely-concentrated Contact us at 1•513•728•4040 or visit to learn more about Cincinnati Mine Machinery products.

surface area that has the potential to be damaged. Truck decks that protect load cells by keeping them enclosed or elevated from areas that accumulate sediment keep the possibility of load cell damage much lower. Placing load cells in an enclosed area also allows for more protection from damage sustained due to extreme temperatures and moisture. Digital load cells that inject potting into

Figure 4. Digital load cells with proper grounding installed provide a more robust defence against the damaging threat of lightning strikes. Lightning strikes can compromise the integrity of the whole weighing system.

Figure 5. Concrete deck truck scales are especially useful in slippery, wet or cold environments, and many scale service companies feel they provide better tire traction than checkered steel decks.

load cell compartments also preclude moisture and sediment ingress from damaging internal components. Truck scale systems that deliver these protections provide more continuous use and prevent load cell and wiring complications.

Scale damage Coal mine owners should also consider scale systems that provide protection against scale damage caused by: truck scale movement spurred on by trucks moving onto the scale, speeds above the recommended limit, overloading, and offset loading. Most analogue truck scale systems, and some digital truck scale systems, utilise bumper bolts, flexures, and check rods; though they are used to restrict deck movement brought on by trucks entering onto a scale platform, they can be damaged themselves or cause damage to the truck scale if ‘jarred’ hard enough. Digital scale systems that allow for passive checking systems that eliminate these pieces of hardware are going to last longer, protect against truck scale damage, and prevent excessive motion. Passive checking systems are much simpler in design and more durable over the life of the digital truck scale – they are also much easier to replace should a load cell or load cell stand become damaged or inoperable. Digital truck scale systems provide a more informative instrument in comparison to analogue scale systems regarding information quantity and quality. Digital truck scale systems provide more information that can be processed and reported, giving businesses a more accurate depiction of daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly processes. This information can be viewed remotely, and dealers and maintenance personnel have access to this information around the clock. Malfunctions, electrical failures, power issues, and errors of any kind can be easily diagnosed and corrected. The unique advantage of knowing exactly what is not working in a truck scale system gives a coal operation the capability of running a more efficient, flawless process.


Figure 6.Thicker truck scale decks with superior structural integrity provide a higher concentrated load capacity rating, which will prevent deflection from permanently damaging the weighbridge.



Coal mine owners should consider some of these issues when selecting either analogue or digital options for their operation. The application of their prospective scale, the structural requirements of the scale, the potential costs that might be associated with their application, and the environmental characteristics of the mine where the scale will be operating are good starting points to guide mine owners in the pursuit of finding the scale that will be most-suitable for their business.

No one else offers: Impervious against Lifetime iSite CloudEmail/ 170 standard size models lightning strikes and load cell based remote text alert available and unlimited water damage warranty monitoring notifications custom-built capabilities

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Ahead of this year’s MINExpo INTERNATIONAL®, 13 – 15 September 2021, World Coal (Booth 1838, North Hall) previews some of the companies that will be exhibiting at the Las Vegas Convention Center.


ABB Booth 8825, Central Hall Global technology leader, ABB, will be celebrating 130 years of innovation in technology from the advent of electricity to the data-driven industry of today. Having led the way over many years as pioneers in the integration of electrification, automation and digitalisation, ABB will be showcasing the newest technologies to support customers in their journey to the all-electric and digital mine of the future. ABB collaborates with mining companies from initial feasibility studies through to full deployment with its unified, cross-functional, enterprise-wide approach, ABB AbilityTM MineOptimize, that connects islands of automation to a fully integrated, digitalised, mobile, and collaborative mine.

Aramine Booth 1779, North Hall & 28031, South Hall Aramine is a partner of underground mining and worksites, all over the world. The company offers advice and solutions, Aramine narrow and medium section machines, remanufactured machines from all brands, multi-brand spare parts and components, and different services with skilled and experienced technicians. Aramine will be displaying its spare parts offer at Booth 1779 and its machines offer at Booth 28031, where the French company will display the battery powered miniLoader L140B with the exclusive Quick Replacement System, which helps ensure a full-time running machine.

AVEVA Booth 4033, Central Hall The PI System, now brought to customers by AVEVA, is the leading industrial operations data management platform for the mining industry. Every day, industrial professionals in 146 countries rely on the PI System to improve operational performance, protect health and safety, keep the lights on, and make the world run more smoothly. To learn why nine of the world’s top 10 mining companies choose the PI System, stop by Booth 4033 at MINExpo.

Becker/SMC Booth 5801, Central Hall Becker/SMC was originally established in 1971 in Huntington, West Virginia, and is now located in Bristol, Virginia. The company provides over 90 000 ft2 of manufacturing space and designs and manufactures electrical components, open-type and explosion proof motor starters, longwall



electrical controls, and power distribution equipment for a variety of industries. Throughout the production process, the work force uses strict quality assurance compliances, customer specification, and regulatory requirements to ensure the product is 100% what was purchased. Becker/SMC is one of the industry’s leaders in increasingly more sophisticated electrical control systems, developing a large amount of major innovations, design features, and specialised electrical components. The success and growth of SMC resulted in seven major facility expansions. Several key acquisitions increased the product lines to include transformers, distribution equipment and complete lines of vacuum switches, connectors, and electronic monitoring devices. Its Custom Equipment Operation can now transform specifications into precision products, utilising state-of-the-art parametric engineering and advanced lean manufacturing techniques. The acquisition of OB Systems, with 20 years of experience in providing electrical products, places Becker/SMC as a major supplier to the transit industry. OB electrical substations are found in heavy and light rail transit systems throughout North America. OB Systems rectifiers, AC and DC switchgear, Traction Power substations, lightning arrestors, ‘Swartz’ relay products, trolley hardware, and transfer switches are readily available from Becker/SMC.

BEUMER Group Booth 8471, Central Hall BEUMER Group (based in Beckum, Germany, with group companies around the globe) develops and implements system solutions which provide greater efficiency in the mining and bulk industry. The company can draw on more than 80 years of experience in this international sector. Controlled growth, a global presence and a wide product range in conveying and loading, palletising, and packaging technology has ensured the long-term success of the company. BEUMER Group employs around 4500 people and achieved an annual turnover of approximately €950 million in 2020.

BME Booth 24640, South Hall BME, a member of the Omnia Group: a global, diversified chemicals group, is a global player in the blasting and explosive’s industry, providing a broad range of products, services, integrated software solutions, and expertise in its field. The company combines over three decades of experience with extensive expertise, through its origins in Africa – where it has taken its learnings to better serve its customers across industries

and continents. Its global footprint now extends to 21 countries and six continents and includes a vast network of manufacturing, innovation, technology, and product development facilities. The goal is to maintain strategic partnerships around the world to ensure supply security and localised solutions. The company prides itself on solutions-based thinking and offers premium blasting and explosives materials, technology, services, and software across the entire value chain. Due to the agile operating models, the company can cater to the full spectrum of blasting and explosives industries, from surface and underground mining to construction and demolition. BME’s goal is a holistic approach – collaborating with customers, as well as third parties, for better outcomes – maintaining safety as a culture across the business and ensuring optimisation of outputs, while being cognitive of a reduced carbon footprint and ensuring the communities it operates in are enhanced through long-term engagement with them.

Compactness, combined with the power of a machine three times its size, revolutionises efficiency and safety for the deepest, most challenging applications. Additionally, the demolition robot can carry heavy tools, such as breakers, rock drills, buckets and shotcrete attachments, providing unparalleled versatility for tasks such as drilling, breaking, and shaft maintenance.

Brunner & Lay Booth 2669, North Hall Brunner & Lay products are designed to deliver high production footage at the lowest possible cost. Products are precision machined from high quality steel, then heat treated to ensure strength and durability. The extensive Brunner & Lay line includes: striking bars, couplings, carburised drill steel, hi-frequency hardened drill steel, and Rok-BitsTM – available with standard, conical, ballistic, or parabolic inserts. In-field specialists are available to help with technical support.



Booth 29121, South Hall

Booth 6229, Central Hall

The Brokk 200 is an ideal tool for ultra-deep mining applications, providing industry-leading power and productivity with zero emissions.

Themed ‘Together, we’re mining better,’ Caterpillar’s MINExpo experience celebrates the company’s partnership with mines and the way

ATMOSPHERIC MONITORING Simple. Efficient. Reliable. • Fully Wireless Communications • No Connection or Power Cables • Flexible and Quick Installation • Network or Stand-Alone Operation • Long Battery Life • Minimal Maintenance • Intrinsically Safe and Non-I.S. Options Always Thinking. Always Solving. Always Innovative.

Visit us at MINExpo South Hall, Booth 25220, or start the conversation today at

it assists customers to mine more efficiently. The Cat exhibit will be grouped under three specific core areas: ESG and sustainability, technology and automation, and equipment lifecycle management solutions. Caterpillar will unveil the new Cat D11 XE – the world’s largest, most powerful, and efficient electric drive dozer with high drive. For underground mining, the new Cat R1700 XE LHD features 100% battery electric propulsion that generates significantly less heat and noise. Additionally, the new Cat 777G Water Truck will be equipped with MineStar Command for hauling, the market’s first autonomous water delivery system.

The innovation of DSI has offered these industries cost-saving solutions with reduction of real estate and dock space, environmentally helpful answers, and low maintenance equipment. Aside from high angle conveying, DSI offers engineering consulting, conventional and overland conveying, upgrades of existing conveyor systems, plant modifications and field assistance, as well as technical and economic studies and evaluations. At MINExpo, DSI will be showcasing an interactive model of the DSI Sandwich belt high angle conveyor.

Derrick Corporation

Booth 6027, Central Hall

Booth 1937, North Hall Derrick® has pioneered the development of wet and dry fine screening solutions to serve diverse industries throughout the world for more than 70 years. The company’s commitment to unmatched quality, combined with vertically integrated product design and a culture of continuous improvement throughout its organisation, has led to the well-recognised long-term reliability and productivity of Derrick products. Derrick will have the SuperStack® machine on display, as well as two of its newest screening products which feature the company’s latest innovation – TrilogyTM surface technology – its most advanced screen system.

Dos Santos International Booth 25515, South Hall Dos Santos International (DSI) is the world’s foremost authority on Sandwich Belt high angle conveyors, founded and led by the inventor of the system, Joe Dos Santos. DSI was founded on its extensive worldwide experience in sales, engineering, and construction of bulk materials handling systems and equipment. This has included major contributions that have expanded the range of bulk handling and transport solutions. Most notably, advances in Sandwich Belt high angle conveyors have led to their worldwide utilisation. DSI’s mission is to provide the most economical and versatile materials handling systems for the industry, while adapting to the changing needs and demands of its customers. DSI has over 40 years of expertise in providing solutions for mining, power plants, steel mills, wood chips at pulp and paper mills, tunnelling, wastewater treatment, cement plants, fertilizer plants, recycling plants, diamond mines, gold mines, oil refineries, and mobile shiploading.



Dyno Nobel Dyno Nobel provides customer solutions through its people, products, and services. The company’s blasters are among the most highly trained in the industry. It offers a full range of reliable explosives products from manufacturing plants around the world, and blasting services from a distribution network unmatched in the industry. The company’s research and development is focused on cutting-edge ways to use new technologies to benefit its customers. Renowned for its safety performance and innovative explosive products and services, Dyno Nobel continuously delivers groundbreaking performance through practical innovation.

Eaton Booth 1943, North Hall Join Eaton at MINExpo to discover how the company can help harness the power of digitalisation to improve cost and energy efficiency, increase uptime in critical operations and protect people, property, and the environment. As a global leader with deep regional application expertise, Eaton provides power distribution and circuit protection; power quality, backup power, and energy storage; control and automation; life safety and security; structural solutions; and harsh and hazardous environment solutions. Through end-to-end services and integrated digital solutions that enable insights, Eaton is powering what matters across industries and around the world.

Elgin Booth 3203, North Hall The HVC-1000 expands Elgin’s Horizontal Vibratory Centrifuge product line with a more compact, cost-effective unit. It joins HVC-1400 and HVC-1500 machines, offering Elgin’s unique dual-mass, two-mode suspension technology. This suspension

system provides isolation of vibration forces from centrifuge and from plant structure. With low vibration transmission, no rubber isolation elements are required under the machine. HVC centrifuges incorporate reliable sump lubrication for rotation bearings and grease lubrication for vibrator motors. HVC centrifuges offer user-friendly, above floor maintenance and enhanced guarding. Both 50 Hz and 60 Hz operation is supported with no need for variable frequency drives. Processing options are broad due to availability of screens in single-piece, self-supporting style and multi-piece screen/basket systems. Screens are offered in multiple aperture sizes, and two different screen angles.

Eriez Booth 24439, South Hall Stop by the Eriez booth to learn more about state-of-the-art suspended electromagnets (SEs), wet drum separators, and revolutionary flotation technology. Eriez is the world authority in separation technology used throughout mineral processing operations. SEs, available in both manual and self-cleaning models, provide tramp metal collection from conveyed materials. Wet drum separators feature the latest advances in magnetic circuitry design, and offer continuous recovery of magnetite or ferrosilicon. The Eriez flotation product line

encompasses flotation cells, gas spargers, slurry distributors, and flotation test equipment.

ESCO Booth 4229, Central Hall ESCO, a Weir Group division, will have a team of product experts at MINExpo to answer questions regarding ESCO’s products and services. Products on display will include: Mining Hoe bucket. Wheel Loader bucket. Cable shovel cast lip. Nemisys® tooth system for mining buckets. Dragline ProFill® and ProFill Delta buckets. From material extraction to hauling and processing, ESCO offers a field-proven range of blades, crusher wear parts, lip systems, ground engaging tools, attachments, and wear management.

Freeport-McMoRan Inc. Booth 7310, Central Hall Freeport-McMoRan Inc. (FCX) is a leading international mining company with headquarters in Phoenix, Arizona. FCX operates large, long-lived, geographically diverse assets with significant

The full potential of digitalization. Drive Efficient Industries. We meet digital change with efficiency and security, while combining more than one and a half centuries of experience in the manufacture of drive technologies with digital innovations. Our data-based solutions thus bring decisive added value for our customers: Maximum productivity through sound data evaluation while maintaining high product quality and plant safety.

proven and probable reserves of copper, gold and molybdenum, and is one of the world’s largest publicly traded copper producers. The company’s portfolio of assets includes the Grasberg minerals district in Indonesia and significant mining operations in North America and South America. By supplying responsibly produced copper, FCX is proud to be a positive contributor to the world well beyond its operational boundaries.

Global Mining Review Booth 1840, North Hall Global Mining Review, World Coal’s sister publication, is the premier source of technical and analytical information for the global mining industry. Each issue of Global Mining Review includes: exclusive regional and special reports, informative case studies, and detailed articles on the latest industry developments. Distributed globally, the magazine receives bonus distribution at key events throughout the year. Visit Global Mining Review’s booth to meet the team and hear about the editorial and advertising opportunities that will be available in 2022.

HARD-LINE Booth 1013, North Hall HARD-LINE is a global technology company specialising in remote and tele-remote-control solutions for heavy machinery that allow its customers to move personnel away from dangerous areas – increasing production safety. No matter what type, make, age, or model of machinery, HARD-LINE can configure any equipment to operate remotely across all industries including mining and construction. After 25 years of operations, HARD-LINE continues to evolve – with two offices in Sudbury, Ontario, including a new technology centre in the city’s downtown, as well offices in Chile, Peru, and Utah, along with a global network of distributors.

Haver & Boecker Niagara Booth 7301, Central Hall Haver & Boecker Niagara will showcase its Pulse Vibration Analysis Service technology at MINExpo 2021. The company’s service programme uses its Pulse vibration analysis technology to evaluate vibrating screen performance and provide recommendations to increase uptime and efficiency. The service helps customers achieve production targets, minimise unscheduled downtime, and demonstrate sustainable improvements through online asset management, in partnership with Haver & Boecker Niagara’s vibrating screen service expertise. The company’s



Pulse vibration analysis software examines the health of a vibrating screen and monitors for irregularities, in order to ensure optimum screening performance and equipment reliability.

Herrenknecht Booth 5301, Central Hall Herrenknecht is a global market leader for mechanised tunnelling technology, employing more than 5000 employees worldwide. Based on its proven experience, Herrenknecht provides an entire range of innovative machines for the mechanised construction of underground mining infrastructure. Whether for vertical access or production shafts, inclined vehicle access ramps, ventilation shafts or transport tunnels, its mining technology is designed for diameters of 0.3 – 12 m and can reach depths of up to 2000 m. The company’s solutions achieve high advance rates while maintaining high occupational health and safety standards.

Hitachi Booth 8525, Central Hall Hitachi product experts will be at their booth to answer mining questions and discuss more about Hitachi’s line of mining excavators, including the new EX-7 Series. As just one way that Hitachi brings reliable solutions to life, the EX-7 Series includes the EX1200-7, EX2000-7, EX2600-7, EX3600-7, and EX5600-7 – available as electric or fuel-efficient models that help reduce total costs of ownership, while achieving superior productivity. Battery electric vehicles and trolley trucks will also be discussed, including how the sustainable and environmentally friendly products can be leveraged. Hitachi’s haul trucks will also be highlighted on-screen.

J.H. Fletcher & Co. Booth 2603, North Hall J.H. Fletcher & Co. is a world leader in engineering and manufacturing custom mining equipment designed for all underground applications. At this year’s show, Fletcher will be showcasing several machines with innovative technology focused on improving safety and productivity. Visit Fletcher to start a conversation about custom-built solutions.

Kal Tire’s Mining Tire Group Booth 8609, Central Hall Servicing more than 150 mine sites across five continents, Kal Tire leverages mining tyre management innovation, highly skilled teams, and close to 50 years’ experience partnering with

W E customers to achieve their goals for safety, sustainability, and productivity. A multi-brand dealer offering a range of retreading, repair, and recycling solutions at every stage of the tyre life cycle.



Digital Monitoring

Komatsu Booth 7027, Central Hall At MINExpo 2021, Komatsu will showcase the company’s commitment to its new brand promise: Creating value together. That promise highlights the importance Komatsu places on partnering with customers to deliver scalable, sustainable solutions that prioritise safety and optimise mining operations at every level. Komatsu is already finding new ways to extract the minerals needed to advance the future of energy and help create renewable resources. Komatsu’s MINExpo experience will feature products, technologies and solutions designed to help mining companies advance their journey toward this future vision.

SCHADE Smart App 4.0

Maestro Digital Mine Booths 1551 – 1650, North Hall Maestro Digital Mine manufactures Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) devices and last mile digital networks for the underground mining sector. Working with mining companies to develop solutions to real-time challenges, its digital solutions are recognised in over 35 countries and deployed globally in 145+ mines. Maestro provides significant CAPEX and OPEX savings to the mines project ventilation, energy, occupational health, and safety professionals. Join Maestro at MINExpo for exciting news as the company continues to innovate its solutions to deliver worker safety and productivity improvements, while reducing the energy and greenhouse gas emissions of mines.

SCHADE Smart Scan 4.0

MAJOR Booth 7501, Central Hall MAJOR will showcase its FLEX-MAT® Modular screen media panels and other screening efficiency-boosting products at MINExpo 2021. FLEX-MAT, the company’s signature screen media, delivers increased throughput by providing more open area than traditional panels. The screen media features up to 40% more screen capacity than traditional woven wire and up to 50% more than traditional polyurethane and rubber panels, setting a new standard in performance for mining, aggregate, and industrial producers. The innovative product’s high-frequency movement makes

SCHADE Smart 3D Laserscan

Expertise in Conversion of Stackers & Reclaimers

media an active part of the screening process, improving efficiency compared to static media, such as woven cloth or synthetic panels.

Martin Engineering Booth 4615, Central Hall Martin Engineering will be featuring a number of innovative technologies at its booth, including its new N2 belt cleaner position indicator and automated tensioner systems. The company will also be showcasing conveyor belt cleaners, belt cradles, conveyor sealing products, belt trackers, and settling components to control bulk material loads. In addition, visitors will find practical solutions, such as industrial vibration and replacement motors for screening equipment, as well as the Martin Roll Gen system for generating power from a moving conveyor belt. The wide array of products are all developed for cleaner, safer, and more productive bulk material handling.

Master Builders Solutions Booth 149, North Hall The Master Builders Solutions team is a world leader in reliable, customer-oriented solutions, focused on customer needs. The company supports customers with product training and quality control, and its technical services team is on hand around the clock, helping with technical advice and trouble shooting. By accompanying customers from the start of their project, Master Builders Solutions supports them every step of the way.

ME Elecmetal

service of rock-drilling solutions for the surface mining, construction, water, geothermal, and renewable energy installations industries. Headquartered in Shannon, Ireland, Mincon has a global presence with research and development facilities, factories, and service centres in the Americas, Europe and the Middle East, Africa, and Asia-Pacific regions. Mincon’s comprehensive product range comprises bespoke mast attachments and drill rigs, down-the-hole hammers and drill bits, rotary drill bits, reverse circulation systems for exploration drilling, construction and geotechnical systems, horizontal directional drilling systems, drill pipes, and all associated drilling accessories.

Philippi-Hagenbuch Booth 6047, Central Hall Philippi-Hagenbuch will highlight its Material Spreader Body during MINExpo 2021. The Material Spreader easily spreads road grit, sand, or other material ranging in size from very fine to more than 2 in. Operators can easily adjust the material spreading width from about 15 ft to more than 60 ft. The haul truck operator controls the material spreading rate and width from the truck’s cab. The Material Spreader Body eliminates the need to purchase a dedicated piece of sanding equipment. It adapts to year-round use from adding traction to icy roads during the winter to maintaining haul roads and spreading material in the spring, summer, and autumn.

Rajant Corporation Booth 1261, North Hall

Booth 3225, North Hall ME Elecmetal offers more than mill liners, grinding media, and crusher wear parts – it also offers innovation, support, custom designs, and valuable tools to develop a total milling and comminution solution specific to customer needs. As a trusted partner at every stage of the optimisation process, the company provides valuable insight based on over 100 years of experience and advanced technologies. The company will help customer optimise their process, reduce downtime and increase productivity, resulting in higher profits. Products include: grinding mill liners, grinding media, crusher wear parts, ladles and slag pots, 3D laser scanning services, reline simulation services, and 2D/3D simulation services.

Mincon Booth 3027, North Hall Mincon is an international engineering group specialising in the design, manufacture, sales, and



Rajant Corporation enables mining operators to maximise uptime in extreme conditions with its exclusive patented and private, wireless industrial Kinetic Mesh®. Kinetic Mesh, with wireless BreadCrumb® nodes and InstaMesh® software protocol, is an adaptable, autonomous network that is readily scalable to hundreds of high-bandwidth radios and built specifically to suit the characteristics of the mining industry. Operators can continuously monitor, manage, and control their large fleets of high-value equipment, vehicles and personnel, which are always on the move across large areas of rugged mining terrain. Through its robustness and mobility, Rajant enables autonomous operations and provides unwavering connectivity in adverse, changing conditions. The result is reliable, mission-critical communications to keep mining operations thriving. Rajant mobile nodes can communicate directly with each other, enabling vehicle-to-vehicle (V2V) communications between both manned and unmanned vehicles.

RPMGlobal Booth 7081, Central Hall RPMGlobal has been helping organisations remain at the forefront of mining for more than 20 years. Its software, advisory, and training services help companies unlock powerful insights to amplify decision-making. RPMGlobal is committed to helping its customers achieve a competitive advantage by delivering integrated solutions that optimise every stage of the mining value chain. The company’s software offerings integrate a mining operation’s design, scheduling, asset management, operations, and finances to seamlessly connect systems and information – all of which will be showcased at MINExpo. The company’s shift into mobile solutions and cloud applications will be on display, ensuring companies can operate their business remotely no matter where their people are located.

Weir Minerals Booth 4239, Central Hall Weir Minerals, a Weir Group division, will feature market-leading products showcasing its

whole-of-mine capabilities, from extraction to comminution and mill circuit. Delegates will be able to view the Trio® cone crusher with ESCO® lining, the Cavex® 2 hydrocyclone – which marks a new era in separation technology – as well as a hologram of the Enduron® high pressure grinding rolls (HPGR). The Synertrex® intelligence platform, that harnesses the latest digital technology to transform productivity, will also be on display.

Xylem Booth 8591, Central Hall Global water technology company, Xylem, will showcase its extensive mine water management solutions portfolio, and in-depth expertise, at MINExpo. At a time when source water is at a premium, Xylem’s mining experts work with its customers to make sure their water dollars are working hard. The company combines its extensive portfolio, smart technologies and superior field service capabilities to help reduce water waste, minimise downtime and streamline operations, for a highly efficient, safe, and cost-effective mine.

Worry-Free Load Zones Rely on Richwood Load Zones. Worry-Free by Design. Clean-up costs, lost product, safety and environmental issues are a real risk to productivity. With a load zone designed by Richwood, this application is saving 40 hours of clean-up and almost 19k in components every month. What would it mean for your bottom line if material impact, dust and spillage issues were eliminated? Contact Richwood today for your on-site evaluation.

©Richwood 2021 world coal before after 21.indd 1

7/19/21 11:29 AM


James Yates, Caterpillar, Australia, reviews a recent longwall system update implemented by the company at an underground coal mine.


ituated in the Southern Highlands Region of New South Wales, Australia, the underground Tahmoor Coking Coal Mine, operated by Tahmoor Coal Pty Ltd (a member of the SIMEC Group and part of the GFG Alliance), has produced coking coal since 1979. Prior to 1987, the mine site used board and pillar mining for primary coal extraction. For more than 30 years since that time, a high-production longwall mining system has extracted most of the coal. The Bulli seam mined at the site produces a hard coking coal used in the production of steel. Supplying material for both domestic and export customers, the Tahmoor Mine includes a coal handling and preparation plant capable of processing up to 650 tph of high-quality metallurgical coal. The current coal panel being mined offers an approximate 2.1 m high seam and spans just shy of 280 m long from main to tail gates. The longwall system consists of 159 Cat roof supports measuring 1.75 m wide, which were, until recently, operated by Cat PM4 roof support control units. Running longwall operations 24 hr/d to meet production targets exceeding 60 000 tpw, the mine now produces approximately 2.5 million tpy run of mine (ROM) coal.

Significant system upgrade The last complete longwall system upgrade made at the Tahmoor mine was over 15 years ago. Tahmoor was the last


company in Australia to purchase the Cat PM 4 roof support control unit in 2004, with the manufacturer introducing the Cat PMC-R unit upgrade shortly after. With regulations driving strict limits on worker exposure to dust, remote control operation of the longwall system is the best solution, which partially contributed to the mine’s latest system upgrade. In addition, the mine was looking for ways to increase longwall system reliability and reduce overall operating costs. Tahmoor mining officials began working with Caterpillar in 2018 for upgrades to several longwall components. The investment included the new Cat PMC-R 2.0 roof support controller and Caterpillar technology upgrade, combined with a new power and ‘intrinsically safe’ lighting systems for the roof supports, complete with colour change functionality. A new slope angle measurement (SAM-6) inclinometer system for measuring height and angle was also installed on the shields. This provides remote control operators with more information regarding the orientation of shields and added functionality for the roof supports to be set to height, rather than only pressure. In addition, SAM-6 provides enhanced anti-collision and unintentional movement detection capability, bringing the 2004-model roof support structures up to the latest technological standard. Tahmoor also invested in numerous electrical system improvements to increase longwall operation and communication efficiency, including the Cat Remote configurable input/output system (CIOS) ‘intrinsically safe’ programmable logic controller (PLC) racks for coal clearance system drive monitoring and health.

With materials delivered in 3Q20, system upgrades were completed for a December longwall operation restart. Despite so many new moving parts, the start-up process was successful, with a 20% reduction in start-up time, setting a new mine record. A typical longwall system restart requires approximately 20 days from initial commencement to the first 100 000 t of ROM coal extracted. This start-up period, however, lasted only 15 days, and this was attributed to the major upgrade in technology designed to improve autonomous capability, plus the product support provided by the local Cat dealer, WesTrac.

Automation and efficiency Maintaining consistent productivity to meet extraction targets for an underground coal mine largely depends on the efficiency of the longwall production process. Advancing automation is key for the success of a longwall, and quality and reliability of the automation system are primary factors in the operation’s success. For this reason, Caterpillar approached Tahmoor representatives with an opportunity to skip over the current Cat PMC-R series of roof support control system, originally introduced shortly after the mine purchased the PM4 units in 2004. The mine would be the first in the world to production-validate the next generation of Caterpillar’s successful PMC-R series: the PMC-R 2.0. While the PM4 was cutting-edge for its time, the new PMC-R 2.0 system is light years ahead of where Tahmoor’s previous roof support controls were. The new controllers increase functionality due to more memory and a faster processor – allowing for more complex application software, improved user interaction within the unit, and advanced visualisation and diagnostics with fast process data refresh rates. These, plus other enhancements, help to significantly improve the overall longwall performance and advance productivity and efficiency.

Controller technology transformation

Figure 1. Tahmoor’s longwall system upgrade included the new PMC-R 2.0 roof support controller and technology upgrade, combined with new power and ‘intrinsically safe’ light systems.

Figure 2. CAN extension devices and Ethernet ports provide improved connectivity and enable updates without controller hardware upgrades.



The new PMC-R 2.0 roof support controller offers the same proven and reliable system topology as the PM4 and PMC-R, but has undergone a complete electronic and network architecture update. One benefit of the new design is its Ethernet backbone that delivers faster refresh rates and lower latency connections than the PM4 and PMC-R. The new controller has multiple processors compared to the PMC-R single processor, equipping it with the power required for future adaptation to autonomous technologies. Its clock speed is more than 28 times faster than the PM4’s, while its 100 MB/s data transfer rate is more than 1700 times faster to offer virtually real-time system feedback, which improves remote operation capabilities. Memory has also been upgraded to allow for larger application software, which contains more function modules and advanced features, providing the end-user with a future-proof platform for expanded autonomous capability.

Table 1. Comparison of Cat® roof support control units Tahmoor’s new controller also helps to advance PM4 PMC®-R PMC®-R 2.0 Caterpillar’s vision for longwall Processor 8-bit 32-bit 3 x 32-bit automation functionality of offering sustained, consistent Memory 288 kB 6000 kB 10 500 kB production at a specified Data rate 57.6 kbps/ 600 kbps/UART Up to 100 mbps rate for a defined period of UART 2 wire Ethernet time. Standard functionality Display One line; Two lines; 22 char 320 x 240 pixels; includes the remote-control 16 char 30 keys 31 keys technology, providing the option for removal of the IR receiver External Internal Internal operator from the face and Wireless No No Yes the utilisation of a machine Alternate One spare Multi-function Multi-function ports interface graphical application connections data port ports Controller Area Network running on a standard PC. (Zbus) This application provides Weight 10 kg 10 kg 5.5 kg a user-friendly interactive experience, which allows the remote operator to issue automatic commands to an individual roof support or initiate automatic functions like Batch Advance or SRB functions from the safety of a different location, including the surface control room. SRB start/stop flexibility has also increased with the new roof support controller. Tahmoor’s previous controller offered only main- and tail-gate SRB starting points. In addition to main to tail and tail start sequences, SRB cycles with the PMC-R 2.0 can be set for all other sequences within the shear cycle, making remote initiation easier and safer. This improves shearer batch efficiency and reduces the number of roof supports manually repositioned to increase productivity. Tahmoor also equipped its longwall system with Figure 3. A new slope angle measurement (SAM-6) inclinometer the Cat Pan Angle Measurement System to help better system installed on the shields allows roof supports to be set understand the floor conditions and provide real-time to height rather than only pressure. indication of the pan line pitch and roll, enabling the operators to react quickly if the pan starts to dive and correct prior to incurring operational delays. The PMC-R 2.0’s colour LCD graphical display provides 50% more information at a glance than the PM4 and PMC-R units, improving the user interaction with the controller while on the longwall face during mining and maintenance operations. Offering intuitive interaction, multiple keys allow direct menu and diagnostic access, and its reduced weight facilitates handling. Minimising downtime and helping Tahmoor schedule maintenance, the PMC-R 2.0 offers expanded VSoftware feature capability. VShields graphically displays the overall health and condition of each roof support and provides complete local and global parameter control. The software’s valve cycle count Figure 4. PMC-R 2.0 provides backwards compatability, which allows for an easy upgrade of PM4 and PMC-R systems. (VCC) application provides an overview of the operation cycles of each solenoid valve in the roof support, chain tensioning system, hoses, and staples. This Future-proofing the new PMC-R 2.0, additional allows Tahmoor to monitor equipment condition communications ports and wireless connectivity and set trigger points that provide an alert when a allow for easy integration of new technology circuit is reaching a pre-defined limit, streamlining the without a controller hardware upgrade, offering maintenance management of hydraulic circuits. simple plug-and-play operation of future devices.



The controller is backward compatible with existing PM4 and PMC-R system components and compatible with Cat electrohydraulic systems and sensors currently installed on field roof supports.

Initial results Longwall system upgrade investments at the Tahmoor mine have resulted in increased productivity and reduced ownership costs. Serviceable controller parts allow minor repairs to take place at the mine site, lowering total cost of ownership and reducing the operational risks associated with sending equipment offsite for repair. Lower latency communications provide virtually real-time updates on equipment performance and health, simplifying remote operation and improving decision-making for reducing longwall start/stops. Three test periods were conducted over the span of four months to determine the advanced functionality and uptime availability of the new PRM-R 2.0 roof support controller. Comparing calendar time, unscheduled downtime, scheduled production time and unplanned delays, the total PMC-R 2.0 availability reached 99.79%, exceeding the expected 98% availability.

The controller’s advanced functionality test conducted in May 2021 consisted of 17 different acceptance parameters, ranging from shearer drum height adjustments and automatic target lines to VShield operation and automatic shield tow functionality. The PMC-R 2.0 functioned within established parameters and passed all critical operating tests with minimal software updates required. Since installing the system upgrades and new PMC-R 2.0 roof support controllers, Tahmoor has seen consistent and sustained improvement in longwall productivity and output. The significant technology advancements, including automation improvements with the PMC-R 2.0 controllers, coupled with the experience and service support provided by WesTrac, attribute to the increase in overall longwall system reliability. Feedback on the new system from the Tahmoor Coal Project Manager mentioned that the PMC-R 2.0 delivered an out-of-the-box availability of 99.6% from first-shear with only improvements since to beyond 99.9%. Two of Tahmoor Coal’s business values are ‘Change’ and ‘Sustainability.’ Changing its roof support control system to improve overall longwall efficiency was key to the company’s sustainability plans. Additional challenges to a greenfield project existed, with needs of retrofitting PMC-R 2.0 to the roof supports and interface with several existing site networks. Close engagement occurred between Tahmoor stakeholders and Caterpillar during the project, having a common goal to deliver safe and production-ready equipment. The now realised reliability in this goal has given Tahmoor confidence to quickly explore the full offerings of its first-in-the-world PMC-R 2.0 units.

Conclusion The successful global production validation of the Cat PMC-R 2.0 roof support controllers has been Figure 5. Reported out-of-the-box controller availability was noteworthy for the new control system, entering 99.6% and improved to beyond 99.9%. service and setting the benchmark for performance and reliability. Faster refresh rates, lower latency connections, and multiple processors make the system future-ready to accommodate further autonomous technologies as they emerge. Successful implementation of the PMC-R 2.0 upgrade continues the strong relationship between Tahmoor, Caterpillar and WesTrac, providing a solid platform to continue the journey toward autonomous coal Figure 6. Valve cycle count (VCC) allows Tahmoor to monitor equipment condition and set trigger points for pre-defined limits to streamline maintenance. production.



In the first part of a two-part article, Steve Meiring, PasteTech Pty Ltd, Australia, provides a comprehensive comparison of the pressures of various dewatering technologies for fine coal tailings.


he Australian coal industry has, for many years, utilised belt press filters to dewater fine thickened tailings. Recently, solidbowl centrifuges have been introduced as an alternate technology to dewater tailings. Both dewatering technologies have been in the industry for over 60 years and are well-accepted dewatering methods. However, tailings technologies

have recently become more demanding. Globally, other coal tailings plants are successfully utilising plate and frame pressure filters. This article will look at these three technologies and how they are used to meet tailings requirements. While each application is uniquely different, a common criterion applies, namely to dewater fine solids to meet an acceptable transport


and deposition criterion. While numerous dewatering bench scale and pilot plant tests are utilised to determine the extent of the dewatering, a number of fundamental differences in the technologies can be found. The factors influencing the sizing of centrifuges, belt press filters and plate and frame pressure filters are provided, together with a look at the different process variables that have an impact on each application. Filtration is a process where slurry is forced through a media with the solids retained on the media/solids and the liquid passing through. In coal tailings, the fine solids tonnage is generally the smaller of the two reject streams exiting the plant, but it has a greater volume of water. Water removal must therefore be targeted to transportable limits and within transportable costs. The transportable limit is a design criterion for the dewatering technology, hence equipment should be selected based upon its ability to reliably achieve the required moisture, handling, and deposition characterisation. An amount of water will always remain in the dewatered cake, which should be managed and have no detriment effect on technologies following the technology. The technical analysis and comparison of the technologies in delivering a handleable material has at times fallen short of an acceptable standard. As such, each application requires an extensive process review. This article addresses the more important process differences between the technologies and provides the advantages and disadvantages for each.

with higher tonnages and greater demand to move to dry disposal, other technologies are being considered. There are three plants utilising solidbowl centrifuges. Historically, batch type plate and frame filters have not functioned well in Australia on coal tailings, but numerous other countries have found favourable advantages with high-pressure filters. Over the past 10 years, a number of plants worldwide have installed plate and frame pressure filters.

Comparison of technologies While there are numerous factors that contribute to the performance of dewatering technologies, this comparison considered a typical tailings thickener underflow at 35% w/w solids, dewatering flotation tails. For the comparison, a particle size with 67% passing 53 micron was utilised.

Industry dewatering technologies and typical results Over the last 10 years, dewatering equipment has grown larger, with more efficient designs. In order to complete a representative comparison of equipment, the largest successful operating installation was considered. This included: 3 m wide belt press filter. 1000 mm dia. solidbowl centrifuge. 2 m wide x 2 m high x 200 plate, plate and frame pressure filter (air blow optional). Data from vendors and published results have been compared.

Australian background In Australia, numerous plants utilise 3 m wide belt press filters for tailings dewatering. This technology is considered acceptable in the industry; however,

Recovery and moisture

The plate and frame pressure filter provides the highest recovery, followed by the solidbowl and the belt press filter. Table 1. Typical tailing dewatering results The plate and frame pressure filter provides the lowest moisture, followed by the solidbowl and the Application Recovery (%) Moisture (%) belt press filter (Table 1). The removal of water in a belt press filter is Plate and frame filter + 98 26 – 30 derived via compression through mechanical Belt press filter 90 – 97* 34 – 38* pressure and shear. The product moisture of the plate and frame filter, Solidbowl centrifuge 92 – 99* 30 – 36* while lower than the belt press filter and centrifuge, * Dependent on polymer addition and particle size distribution. is achieved through the higher pressure applied and the air blow. An added advantage of the Table 2. Typical solids and volumetric throughput pressure filter is that simply adjusting air-blowing time can control cake Application Approximate Typical dry Typical m3/h at moisture. 2 (tph) area (m ) 35% w/w U/F Most of the belt press filter losses do not occur through the sides or mesh of 2 m x 2 m plate and 1433 75 183.4 frame filter (200) the belt, as may be expected, but rather due to residual cake sticking to the belt 3 m wide belt press 27 19 46.5 and being lost in the high-pressure wash filter water. This is a characteristic of the tailings 1000 mm dia. 4.65 50 122.3 as well as a function of the selected belt solidbowl centrifuge composition.



In centrifugation, both the G-force (G) (related to diameter and speed) and retention t ime (T) and in some instances differential speed must be considered. It is for this reason a GT curve is produced. The G and T are multiplied together to provide G seconds and a series of either moistures or recoveries are depicted for the different G-second scenarios together with particle size distributions and reagent additions.

Solids and volumetric throughput Table 2 shows typical values of solids throughput and is dependent on numerous factors. For each of the three technologies, Figure 1. Total moisture range vs applied pressure. For each technology, the upper, average, and lower moistures are depicted. residence and or filtration time plays a major role in its sizing. Sizing of a belt press filter is based on the filtration to the centrifuge. Subject to the mechanical characteristics and the time required to meet a constraints of the machine, a centrifuge operation is a desired cake moisture. trade off of both functions. Tailings thickener underflow solids move Sizing of a plate and frame filter typically involves up and down the ‘density curve’ based on the a solids rate per unit area within an acceptable batch characterisation of the material, water, and how the cycle time. operators run the thickener. It is therefore of more Pressure and plastic limits benefit to scale up or size a centrifuge on volume and The applied pressure exerted on coal fine tailing retention time as opposed to solids tonnage rate. particles has an affect on the total moisture. Figure 1 From a process standpoint, either the recovery or the depicts the various application pressures vs the cake solids set the limit on the volumetric throughput

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total moisture. The belt press filter pressure exerted through the air driven bellows can range between 200 and 830 kPa. The pressure differential between the pool and the cake in a solidbowl centrifuge can be between 800 kPa and upward of 2000 kPa. The plate and frame pressure filter pressure based on the feed pump can reach pressures of over 2000 kPa. It is interesting to note that the curve for all technologies follows a similar shaped pattern (Figure 1). The total moisture therefore should be selected based on the cake properties, in particular the cake’s Atterberg Limits. The Atterberg Limits describe the plasticity of the dewatered material, an important criterion required for transportation and deposition in dumps. The liquid limit (LL) is the gravimetric moisture content at which the material starts to flow and the plastic limit (PL) is the gravimetric moisture content as the material starts to act as a solid. These must be determined for the different dewatered cakes. The plasticity index (PI) is defined as the difference between the LL and the PL. Plasticity is defined as the degree of deformation the cake can withstand while maintaining its volume in reaction to a force. The higher the plasticity the higher the force for a change in structure. Mineralogical composition, particle size, reagents, dewatering application, and operating modes influence the degrees of change. ACARP project C15061 showed that the plasticity had a direct impact on handling and the ‘deposited’ geotechnical properties. Results indicated that higher plasticity is associated with decreased permeability and shear strength, and increased compressibility and swell potential. The Atterberg Limits require comparison against the cake moisture content. The results show the solids concentration and the associated characterisation of filter cake. An example includes: An easily handled friable cake: that is a solids concentration higher than the PL (for example >72% solids). Table 3. Typical reagent consumption


Flocculant (g/dry t)

Coagulant (g/dry t)

Plate and frame filter



Belt press filter

50 – 300

50 – 300

Solidbowl centrifuge

200 – 600

100 – 300

Table 4. Centrifuge residence time at 25 and 35% solids

Feeds % solids Volumetric flow Retention time (sec.) (m3/h)









An intermediate phased plastic material: that is a solids concentration between the PL and LL (between 56% and 72% solids). A very difficult to handle flowable material: that is a solids concentration less than the LL (<56% solids).

Reagents The addition of reagents is determined via testwork and the characterisation of the tailings (Table 3). With the introduction of high-pressure filtration, the need for reagents is optional. Some plate and frame filters that are not utilising high pressure may require reagents. The majority of all belt press filters require feed conditioning prior to the feed entering the filter. Both anionic and cationic reagents are required in some applications. The solidbowl centrifuge will not recover ultra fines without the addition of reagents. The recovered ultra fines then add moisture to the final cake. It is therefore imperative to review the quantity of -20 micron material in the feed, cake, and centrate sample.

Major factors influencing dewatering Feed percent solids The feed percent solids content for a dewatering application has an effect on sizing and performance. Higher volumes of water need to be managed and, where possible, the removal of water (to acceptable levels) prior to the dewatering application is the preferred norm. In many coal processing plants, thickeners are used for the initial dewatering of tailings. The underflow from the thickener serves as the feed to a more intense dewatering application. Increasing the underflow solids concentration can be an advantage or disadvantage to dewatering, depending on the selected application.

Plate and frame pressure filters Higher feed solids to a plate and frame filter reduces the overall cycle time. Cake formation in the plate and frame filter is governed by Darcy’s Law. The basic formula for cake to establish on a filter cloth is: dV/dt = 7.481*P/(µ*(aave W+Rm)


Where: V = the filtrate liquid volume per unit filtration area (m3/m2). t = cake formation time (min.). P = applied pressure across the cake or bed of solids (kg/m2). µ = viscosity of the liquid (kg-min./m2). aave = specific filtration resistance of the cake or bed of solid (m/kg).


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W = mass of solids cake per unit filtration area (kg/m2). Rm = filter cloth resistance (1/m). With a variable thickener underflow feed concentration, Darcy’s equation can be arranged in this manner: dt/dV = µ*( aaveSV/A+Rm)/AP


Where: S = solids concentration of the feed slurry (kg/m3). By integrating and rearranging equation [2], it shows that the cake formation time (t) can be influenced by the feed percent solids. T = µ/P[aS/2*(V/A)2 + Rm*V/A]


Clearly there are benefits to increasing the thickener underflow solids prior to a plate and frame filter. While this may be true for a filter press, there are apparent issues when high percent solids are fed to a solidbowl centrifuge or a belt press filter.

Solidbowl centrifuges Like a thickener, particles introduced in the centrifuge enter three modes of sedimentation namely: free, hindered, and compression. These are affected by the solids concentration, flocculant, and densities. When the volume concentration of particles in unflocculated slurry reaches the point at which the flow of one particle affects the flow field of adjacent particles, the sedimentation velocity of the particles is reduced. The particles, however, are still settling as discreet particles, with larger particles settling faster than smaller ones. At higher solids concentrations for unflocculated slurry, there is a concentration at which the entire slurry, regardless of particle size, settles as a blanket or hindered settling. Under hydrodynamic influence, the smaller particles are settling as fast as the larger ones. Classification by size is not possible as all the particles are settling at the same rate. At even higher concentration, the particles are physically touching each other, resulting in a matrix structure slowly subsiding and compacting downwards. The liquid attempts to express upwards through the void of the cake. Typically, the higher the solids concentration in a centrifuge, the lower the solids recovery. Particles in the pool do not have sufficient freedom to move and can be captured in the faster moving boundary layer if the centrifuges are incorrectly sized.1 In centrifugal filtration, area, flowrate, scroll rate, and pool depth all provide the ‘time’ for effective separation.



The pool volume for a 1000 mm dia. centrifuge is approximately 1233 l (assuming 60% of the cylindrical volume). When a hypothetical case to estimate the retention time at 50 tph at two different thickener underflow solids is presented, at the lower feed percentage solids retention time is reduced by over 30%.

Belt press filters A belt press dewatering system has two capacity factors, volumetric, and solids handling. One or other of these capacities will be the determining factor, depending on the solids concentration of the feed. The factors influence the drainage rate in the gravity zone and dewatering rate in the pressure zone – e.g. filter cake may dewater quickly in pressure zone, but the filter is operated slowly because gravity drainage is the controlling factor, or vice versa. The belt press filter feed typically ranges between 25% to 35% solids by mass (Table 4). Although higher feed solids concentrations are possible, higher density feed reduces the flocculant mixing efficiency (leading to higher flocculant doses) and can have a negative impact on feed presentation in the gravity zone (denser slurries do not flow as easily as less dense slurries). Even distribution of solids from the feed distributor box must be maintained to gain full width exposure. Branning found that for a doubling of the feed solids concentration, from 4.7% to 10% w/w, there was a three-fold increase in flocculant demand.2 This is not an unexpected finding in that particles will have less freedom to settle.

Conclusion Belt press filters, plate and frame filters, and solidbowl centrifuges are utilised to dewater thickened fine coal tailings. A comparison of recovery, moisture, reagent addition, solids, and volumetric throughput has been shared in this article. Feed percent solids plays an important role in the performance of the technologies. In part two of this article, a review of other important factors that influence the sizing, performance, and operations of the three technologies will be addressed and specialised technical information on each technology will be shared. A comparison table highlighting the differences between the technologies will be provided together with the final conclusions.

References References can be provided upon request.

Note This article was originally submitted to the 18th Australian Coal Processing Society’s Conference Coal Rush 2021, which took place in March 2021.

Andrea Pezzi, Diemme Filtration, part of the Aqseptence Group, Italy, explains how and where filter presses can help in the coal industry.


ver the last decade, the mining industry in general, and more specifically the coal industry, has seen the use of dewatering technologies go through an increasing trend. Over the years, there have been a few different technologies applied and, ultimately, filter presses seem to be preferred for the majority of the cases. Especially in recent times, where the request of re-using water and reducing the footprint of the dewatered material (namely tailings) has increased, this technology has provided the highest performances in terms of efficiency in solid-liquid separation.

This is also thanks to the significant evolution of the available models and the consequent advantages for the deriving reduced operational costs. Table 1 offers a comparison detailing the advantages and disadvantages of the main dewatering technologies commonly used. Diemme® Filtration (part of the Aqseptence Group) has been helping several groups on a global scale with their tailings and dewatering management. Concerning tailings disposal, it is well known how critical this activity is for site operations, and the company is assisting with an increasing demand for dewatering


equipment in order to dispose the tailings as a dry stack. While in the past, most of the tailings have been sent to a pond, thickening the ‘modern conventional way’ (using the filter presses to dewater these streams) means having the consequent benefit of compact solids ‘cakes’ stacked on an area with a reduced footprint and the main quantity of water recycled back to the wet process of the mine. Operating in this way helps prevent the risk of inundation of the surrounding areas (as a potential consequence of a dam failure), as well as providing a higher social acceptability and easier mine closure. In the last few years, for example, the company has been selected as technology partner for coal sites

located in Eastern Europe, where different clients needed guidance to achieve progress towards their specific needs. Every site had a different type of stream and different tonnage; it was important to assist the clients with laboratory tests. The tests are always a crucial step to collecting the sizing information and determining performances. The filterability of a product is the consequence of several characteristics, the most relevant of which include: Chemical composition. Mineralogy. Particle size distribution (PSD). Particle morphology. Suspended solids concentrations. Density. In addition, it is also possible to select the best suitable type of filter media with the necessary permeability to capture the solids and to allow a smooth cake release during the discharge phase.

Case study: Russia In 2015, Vorkuta Ugol, a Russian customer located in a remote Artic area, required a new solution because the existing solution could not reach the necessary targets and was not reliable (for both mechanical reasons as well as process issues). After a dedicated testing campaign and consequent sizing, a first filtration line with one overhead filter model GHT.2000.P14 with 181 recessed plates (size 2 x 2 m) was delivered by Figure 1. Filterpress model GHT 2000, Russia. the Diemme Filtration to process an average Table 1. Advantages and disadvantages of the main commonly used dewatering technologies of 35 tph of solids. The GHT is a heavy duty and Description Plate filter press Belt press Centrifuge robust model and has an Continuous operation Yes Yes overhead beam design with a pull-to-close plate Flexibility High Low Low pack sealing system and Total enclosure Yes the carousel discharge. The product, from Electrical power Low Medium High the underflow of the Low noise level Yes Yes existing thickener, had a concentration of Cake dryness High Medium Low approximately 40% w/w Polymer consumption None (low) Medium High (2.5 – 3 times with P80 of 105 micron. the requirement for The achieved cake the filter press) dryness, after discharge Wear Low (low number High (several High (wearing of from the filter press, was of moving parts) moving parts) rotating parts) 70% and could meet the Start-stop easy Yes client’s criteria for the procedures disposal in the dry-stack area. Low footprint Yes The maximum feeding Wash wear requirements Low High Low pressure (reached by a double stage centrifugal Loss of solids Low Medium High pump) was in the range of Capital investment Medium – high Medium Low 12 – 14 bar.



The following year, the same client doubled the capacity and added one more line with the same model (Figure 1). Over the years, the client has remained in touch with Diemme Filtration’s Local Service Team (based in Russia). The performance of the units has been continuously monitored and the client can achieve the expected target. Additionally, there is a plan for an upgrade in the near future – the provision and installation of an automatic high-pressure cloth washing system. The washing system, by means of water at 50 bar, will clean the filter media in order to refresh the filtration efficiency and extend their duration. The immediate effect of this upgrade will result in significant savings in terms of the operational costs, due to reduced man power requirements for the maintenance, reduced down time, and lower expenditure on replacement cloths.

Case study: Poland A similar approach was taken on a project in Poland with a client named CarboAutomatika, which Diemme Filtration worked on together with its local partner, Prorem. After a thorough analysis of test results, the partners designed and delivered an equipment package, including one overhead filter model GHT.2000.P13 with 169 recessed plates (size 2 x 2 m). The tonnage of the installation was 20 tph. The product, from the underflow of the existing thickener, had a concentration of approximately 42% w/w with P80 of 25 micron. Also in this case, the maximum feeding pressure (reached by a double stage centrifugal pump) was in the range of 12 – 14 bar. The same client involved the company for the dewatering of the coal concentrates as well. The plant, prior to consider the filter presses, had been experiencing a significant loss of solids from the existing centrifuges. The concentrate stream was at a concentration of 35% w/w with a P80 of 105 micron. Additionally, the achieved cake dryness was limited with the consequent requirement of higher drying energy. With the engagement of Diemme Filtration through a detailed testing campaign, it was possible to size the equipment in order to achieve 75% of cake dryness with relevant costs savings for the dryer. The scope of supply included a second GHT 2000.P13 with 135 membrane plates. The filtration cycle included steps of cake blowing and cake squeezing (with a maximum squeezing pressure of 13 – 14 bar), in order to displace as much water out from the solids (Figures 2 and 3). In this case, given the nature of the products, it was important to equip the units with the automatic

cloth washing system. For both the presented case studies, it is worth highlighting the importance of an open dialogue between the involved parties so that it is possible to focus on the main targets of each site. The testing is key to minimising risks and providing the best support. The selection of the appropriate model is also relevant when it comes to the long-term operation.

Conclusion With the continuous innovation of new models, filter press technology has now achieved a high level of reliability, something which is key in this type of industry, and even more so when the sites are remote. For this reason, Diemme Filtration is now starting to implement, when possible, the Industrial Internet of Things as a way to provide higher standards of assistance to clients, by using all the collected information and data in a smart and efficient way.

Figure 2. Filterpress model GHT 1500 on coal tailings, Poland.

Figure 3. Filterpress model GHT 2000 on coal concentrates, Poland.





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