Economic impact of coal preparation problems

CIM Bulletin, Vol. 78, No. 881, 1985

STANLEY G. BUTCHER, Manager, Coal Preparation Division, Coal Mining Research Company, Devon, Alberta

The methods generally applied to predict performance and financially evaluate beneficiation options are reviewed. Typical costs for a western Canadian thermal coal operation are examined. Preparation—from truck dump to loadout— frequently amounts to over a quarter of total minesite costs. Failure to achieve projected yield—whether caused by mine or plant problems—substantially increases production costs because more coal has to be mined to meet a specific market demand. Problem identification by mass/ash balances is recommended. Thorough characterization of the coal and associated waste materials and more reliable prediction of beneficiation process performance are therefore essential to determine a project's financial viability.
Mots Clés: Coal preparation, Economics, Thermal coal, Washability data, Coal cleaning, Coal beneficiation, Plant performance.