Coal Preparation

Review of ACARP Dewatering Projects

Coal Preparation » Dewatering

Published: October 02Project Number: C11039

Get ReportAuthor: Chris Wood | Partition Enterprises

This report presents a review of the 26 past and current coal dewatering research projects funded by NERDDC and ACARP. It was commissioned by ACARP to:

  • summarise the practical outcomes
  • highlight any further potential outcomes that could be realised for a relatively small amount of additional funding
  • recommend any prospective areas for future research.

All projects were critically reviewed. They were also discussed with key participants and with numerous coal preparation practitioners and equipment suppliers. The body of the report presents a brief summary of relevant projects, arranged according to the dewatering equipment or technique under investigation. No broad review of literature was undertaken. That has been done within the projects under review.

The practical outcomes of ACARP dewatering research have been minimal. It seems that no plant is making routine use of production equipment or techniques that can be traced back to these projects. The CSIRO and University of Queensland developed a bench-scale centrifuge. It is used to treat samples of coarse coal to predict product moisture content following processing of that coal type in an industrial-scale vibrating basket centrifuge. This has been used by a number of producers and plant designers for plant design and optimisation. The University of Queensland sought to have its version of the single leaf laboratory filter adopted as an industry standard. To date, little interest has been shown in that device.

The two R&D issues with most potential for near-to-medium term benefit to producers are:

  1. Managing water loss and water uptake from the point of production of saleable product to the point of sampling for sale. This can include drainage from stockpiles and rail wagons and water uptake from rain and dust-suppression sprays.
  2. Demonstration projects to assist producers to better utilise existing equipment - particularly filters, vibrating basket centrifuges and scroll centrifuges.

Valuable projects on air-purge dewatering and on extending the life of scroll centrifuge baskets are nearing completion. Other matters with near-to-medium term potential include:

  1. Properly-resourced plant trials of high-shear conditioning of filter feed with polyelectrolyte flocculants and with oil.
  2. A study to generate guidelines as to what size fractions are worth recovering. Inputs would include contamination levels, associated moisture levels and contract provisions.
  3. A brief review of the state-of-the-art of briquetting and of briquette stability. It should consider processes which use binders as well as "binderless" processes which require pre-drying. Applications to filter cake and to coal recovered from tailings dams should be included.

Possible productive avenues for the medium term include:

  • Super-absorbent polymers for dewatering of fine coal.
  • Super-absorbent polymers to allow dry by-pass of fine coal to product
  • Depletion Flocculation, whereby osmotic effects can be utilised to compact and strengthen the sludge in a tailings pond.


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

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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...

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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