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The challenge

Better and automated control over separation processes in coal preparation plants

Both the automation and control of a coal processing plant can be challenging. In order to automate a plant, we need to know the current operating position of the plant and how various changes affect the operation – in particular, the dense medium cyclone (DMC) circuit that processes 80 per cent of the plant's feed.

Our response

Identifying major controlling factors for optimum operation of the DMC circuit

CSIRO and ACARP have collaborated on a number of projects that identify the major controlling factors for the optimum operation of the DMC circuit. These projects include:

Automation and control of a coal processing plant is a challenge.

  • non-magnetics in the medium, at low densities
  • cyclone differential, which is related to non-magnetic media
  • feed rates and washability
  • processes for the addition of magnetite
  • water and bleed control options.

The results

Better and automated control of plant

Being able to provide better, and eventually automated, control over separation processes in the coal preparation plant has been progressed at CSIRO through:

  • identifying and quantifying the variables and effects of the DMC separation process
  • identifying new instrumentation and producing a prototype, with the technique being patented
  • developing models to predict DMC separation density
  • recognising and measuring efficiency and stability issues, through the use of new instrumentation.

In order to stimulate Australian investment in this system, an ACARP project will commence to install and monitor six DMC circuits in plants in the Bowen Basin and Hunter Valley.

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