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The challenge

Mastering material behaviour

Efficient transport and handling of minerals, coal and other resources is essential for the mining industry.

This requires product-specific solutions for a range of resources.

Understanding each product is critical to efficient and productive delivery from pit to port and beyond.

Transporting coal, for example, presents unique challenges. Coals can behave very differently to each other at each step of the mining process and petrography – analysis of the microscopic properties of a coal’s grain – can help determine the best way to handle it at each step in the value chain, including transportation.

Coal with a higher moisture content tends to stick or “hang up” in transport vessels, while drier coals can generate dust and pollute the transport corridor.

Tracking the movement of coals in stockpiles and ports is crucial to ensuring the efficient delivery of the correct product without dilution.

Coal is dark and poorly reflective, making it difficult to detect and measure accurately using traditional sensor technologies – monitoring solutions need to address that challenge.

Our response

Solutions for resource-specific logistics

We have developed a range of technologies to meet the challenges that crop up in the transportation of resources.

Our Resources Logistics team develop solutions that enhance the characterisation, transport and storage of resources – from coal to iron ore – to improve the safety and productivity of the industry, and monitoring solutions that help to reduce environmental impact.

For example:

  • We developed Component Grain Analysis (CGA) technology, which uses petrography to characterise coal composition and deliver accurate information on the size, density, chemistry and ash percentage at the microscopic grain level
  • To enable the efficient unloading of sticky coals and other challenging materials, we developed a Remnant Carryback Detection (RCD) system that automatically detects hang-ups and stops the train, allowing the material to be dislodged
  • To manage storage and handling of a highly variable product, we also has developed a stockpile modelling system that enables real-time tracking and rapid scenario planning at the port. We have also developed customised laser-scanning technologies, providing real-time mapping of coal stockpiles, despite the poorly reflective qualities of bulk coal.

Resources logistics: sustainable transport technologies case studies

  • Bulk ore transport is a challenging business, with moisture and other environmental issues often leading to incomplete dumping of material from train wagons. We are solving this issue for miners, rail network operators and ports.

  • Accurate, automated analysis of the microscopic properties of coal grains and other particulate samples is helping improve processes at all stages of the resources value chain, from exploration to utilisation.

  • Advanced 3D mapping and modelling systems enable real-time product tracking to help miners control the quality of the final product for their customers, even when stockpiles are built up from different source materials

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