Open Cut » Coal Extraction
This project commenced in February 1999 with the objective of developing a general-purpose PC-based software tool to evaluate the performance of the complete mine-plant-shipping coal chain.
The tool estimates the loss and dilution resulting from using different mining methods under different conditions using different equipment. It describes the properties of ROM coal blends based on their original in-situ washability and the dilution and degradation caused by mining and handling; applies washing models to predict the resulting yield and product coal properties, and analyses mining, handling and processing costs so that the relative benefit of alternative mining, blending or washing practices can be quantitatively assessed.
Each source of coal in the mine is described in a working section which delineates the seams and partings encountered, together with the properties of each material, coal and non-coal.
TThe equipment and mining method (and their associated costs) used to mine the coal are entered in order to generate the ROM coal. The ROM coal can be stockpiled, and the stockpiles subject to weathering and energy based degradation due to handling before the coal reaches the plant.
TThe preparation plant is described by a number of simple washing models which predict the yield of clean coal, the associated ash, and the costs of the washing operation.
Railing costs to local power stations or the port are also incorporated, as are head office charges.
Output from the software takes the form of detailed tables in which the performance of each stage in the coal chain for a given mining and/or processing strategy is compared with a base case. The final line of the tables provides an estimate of the revenue in dollars to the operation for each case.
The software is configured with generic data which describes in broad terms the characteristics of coal, partings, floor and roof encountered in Australian practice. Generic cost data is also used, but all the data can be customised to represent any particular site to create a site-specific program for detailed analysis of any operation.
Operation of the software needs to be a collaborative effort between the mining engineer, mine planner, metallurgical engineer and marketing personnel, but with their collective input and knowledge, any Australian coal mine operator now has available an extremely powerful tool for analysing options in mining and processing to produce a bottom line dollar comparison.