Technical Market Support

Coal Blend Analysis by Automated Petrography

Technical Market Support » General

Published: April 06Project Number: C11022

Get ReportAuthor: Barry Jenkins | Jenkins-Kwan Technology

Leading coal laboratories and ironmaking plants use light microscopy methods to quantitatively estimate the composition of blends of product coking coals. Although various automatic imaging systems have been used by plants for routine blend analysis, the overwhelming majority of blend analysis performed by petrographic laboratories is by manual point counting. The automatic systems produce results only on a bulk basis (vitrinite reflectance distributions and coal blend proportions) and the methods employed are not consistent across the industry. The manual methods can produce more detailed information but are not suitable for routine plant analyses. The main aim of this project was to develop a more advanced blend analysis technique based on the MACE®3001 automated coal petrography system. This system was developed with ACARP assistance under Projects C6055 and C8056. A capability to analyse coal blends is a prerequisite for the system to become a viable alternative to manual petrographic methods for characterising coking coals and power station feeds. Automation is necessary to remove operator subjectivity, to permit more complex and extensive measurements than is practical with manual methods, and to make analyses more accessible to the coal industry.

The project was approached as an image analysis and statistical analysis problem to be solved within the design framework of the existing automated coal petrography system. The aim was to produce a workable version suitable for users of existing R&D systems. The project was successful and a software solution was found to determine vitrinite reflectance distributions and coal blend proportions on a grain-by-grain basis. To achieve this, a new technique was developed to accurately identify and measure individual grains of vitrinite and telo-vitrinite (a sub-group). The identification of vitrinite populations was assisted by accurate reflectance calibrations (improved reflectance standards are under development in project C12059). The performance of the blend analyser was assessed using samples provided by an international petrography standards body. The system was tested on a variety of shipment blends. It was not possible to fully automate the blend analyser at this time. The software was designed to work with manual microscopes and several interactive steps are required during the acquisition of data and during processing. In addition to standard coal blend analysis, several other potential applications were demonstrated. For example, in expert hands it is viable as a forensic tool. The high sensitivity of the technique may allow small secondary populations of vitrinite introduced by different mining patterns or contamination to be detected in single product coals. It was demonstrated that vitrinite populations separated by as little as 0.1 % reflectance could be accurately distinguished by using telo-vitrinite indicators. The provision of blend data on a grain-by-grain basis is an important development. For the first time it is possible to relate blend data to individual component grain properties such as maceral abundance, texture and density. It is now possible to develop more complex models to describe coal behaviour during processing and utilization.  


Health and safety, productivity and environment initiatives.


Open Cut

Safety, productivity and the right to operate are priorities for open cut mine research.

Recently Completed Projects

C19024Establishing Ecologically Sustainable Mine Water Release Criteria In Seasonally Flowing Streams

Extreme rainfall conditions in the Fitzroy Catchment over an approxi...

C25030Coal Mine Open Pit Final Void Closure And Relinquishment - Addressing Uncertainty In Coal Mine Environmental Planning

This report addresses uncertainties faced by coal mine operators whe...

C27046Estimation Of True Deformation Vector From Slope Radar Monitoring

Slope deformation radar monitors are now widely used in open cut coa...

Open Cut

Coal Preparation

Maximising throughput and yield while minimising costs and emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C27004Improving Coal Flotation With Oscillatory Air Supply

This report provides detailed information on coal flotation with os...

C25018Improving Solids Recovery And Moisture Reduction In Ultrafine Coal Dewatering

This report provides detailed information on fine coal dewatering in...

C27028Lab Froth Flotation Testing Guide With Coal Quality

Correct outcomes from laboratory froth flotation testing in coal bor...

Coal Preparation

Technical Market Support

Market acceptance and emphasising the advantages of Australian coals.

Recently Completed Projects

C26039Nanoporosity In Cokes: Their Origin, Control And Influence On CO2 Reactivity

This project using the outcomes of previous project C24060, examine...

C28063A Comprehensive Technical Review Of High-Efficiency Low-Emission (HELE) Pulverised Coal Combustion Technologies For Power Generation

Research and development has been undertaken worldwide to realise co...

C28064Carbon Structure Transformation During Coking Of Australian Coking Coals: Better Understanding The Coke Formation

Carbon structures of coke that are formed during the plastic layer a...

Technical Market Support

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Mitigating greenhouse gas emissions from the production of coal.

Recently Completed Projects

C28076Selective Absorption Of Methane By Ionic Liquids (SAMIL) - Phase 2 Demonstration In A Packed Bed Reactor

An alternative approach to high temperature oxidation of ventilation...

C26004CFD Modelling Of Reverse Thermal Oxidisers For VAM Abatement - CFD Modelling Of Fixed-Bed RTO Devices

The project is part of a larger multi‐phase program of study a...

C27058Technological Assessment Of A Recycle Reactor For VAM Abatement

Underground coal mining emits high volumes of methane, diluted in ve...

Mine Site Greenhouse Gas Mitigation

Low Emission Coal Use

Step-change technologies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Recently Completed Projects

C17060BGasification Of Australian Coals

Four Australian coals were trialled in the Siemens 5 MWth pilot scale ga...

C17060AOxyfuel Technology For Carbon Capture And Storage Critical Clean Coal Technology - Interim Support

The status of oxy-fuel technology for first-generation plant is indicate...

C18007Review Of Underground Coal Gasification

This report consists of a broad review of underground coal gasification,...

Low Emission Coal Use

Mining And The Community

The relationship between mines and the local community.

Recently Completed Projects

C16027Assessing Housing And Labour Market Impacts Of Mining Developments In Bowen Basin Communities

The focus of this ACARP-funded project has been to identify a number...

C22029Understanding And Managing Cumulative Impacts Of Coal Mining And Other Land Uses In Regions With Diversified Economies

The coal industry operates in the context of competing land-uses that sh...

C23016Approval And Planning Assessment Of Black Coal Mines In NSW And Qld: A Review Of Economic Assessment Techniques

This reports on issues surrounding economic assessment and analysis ...

Mining And The Community


National Energy Research,Development & Demonstration Council (NERDDC) reports - pre 1992.

Recently Completed Projects

1609-C1609Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

Self Heating of Spoil Piles from Open Cut Coal Mines

1301-C1301Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development...

Stress Control Methods for Optimised Development and Extraction Operations

0033-C1356Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals...

Commissioned Report: Australian Thermal Coals - An Industry Handbook